Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Child poverty measurement in the UK: assessing support for the downgrading of income-based poverty measures

Stewart, Kitty ORCID: 0000-0001-7744-8741 and Roberts, Nick (2017) Child poverty measurement in the UK: assessing support for the downgrading of income-based poverty measures. Social Indicators Research. ISSN 0303-8300

Text - Accepted Version
Download (711kB) | Preview
Text - Published Version
Download (695kB) | Preview

Identification Number: 10.1007/s11205-018-1880-9


In 2016 the UK’s Conservative Government radically changed the official approach to child poverty measurement, scrapping targets for income poverty and material deprivation and introducing instead indicators of household ‘worklessness’ and children’s educational attainment at age 16. This paper seeks to assess the extent of support for this move among a range of national experts. The paper briefly reviews the way that poverty has been conceptualized by researchers going back to Booth and Rowntree, before going on to examine 251 responses to a 2012-13 UK government consultation on child poverty measurement. By drawing on the consultation, the paper is able to consider the views of those working in local authorities, children’s charities and frontline services as well as academic researchers. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the literature on poverty measurement by considering a wider set of voices than are often heard, while also putting on record widespread opposition to the measurement changes. The paper identifies very clear support for an approach to poverty measurement that has income and material deprivation at its heart. Out of 251 responses, just two advocate removing income from poverty measurement. Responses also overwhelmingly reflect a relative understanding of poverty. There is fairly limited support for a multidimensional approach, and the paper reflects on why this might be, given a shift to more multidimensional thinking about poverty globally. It concludes that poverty measurement is highly political: what is measured drives policy, and preferences for indicators therefore reflect, at least in part, current political concerns about how best to hold government to account.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2018 10:02
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics