Economic and Social Research Council
Better measures of child poverty
In a perfect world of child poverty targets and measurement, income measures would be complemented by non-income ones, and analysis of root causes would go beyond what happens in the family, suggests recent research in Burundi, Ethiopia and Vietnam.
Measuring child poverty on the basis of family income alone may lead to groups of deprived and vulnerable children being excluded from help, says Dr Keetie Roelen. "Using non-monetary measures in contrast to monetary measures identifies different groups of children as being poor. So, children living in families with above poverty income are still deprived because they don't have access to basic services such as schooling, good sanitation, or water and vice versa."
Recent debate about child poverty in developing countries, but also in the UK, has focused on the 'root causes' of poverty such as unemployment and family breakdown.
"Moving away from an income measure as the main target for child poverty is not a bad thing per se, but focusing on the root causes at the level of the family alone is worse," says Dr Roelen. "It disregards complex factors that determine whether a child is doing well or not, and also places the responsibility for tackling child poverty on parents and children themselves."
Parents and children in Burundi, Ethiopia and Vietnam told researchers that achieving good outcomes is a complex task involving a variety of influences: parents, other families, the community and, notably, government. Hence, this study highlights the crucial and continuing importance of policies that put in place the structural changes required to improve child poverty outcomes: for example, employment, access to schools, improved sanitation and healthcare services.
- Reducing poverty in the first 18 years of life: the importance of measurement for getting it right (Gateway to Research)
- Contact: Dr Keetie Roelen, Institute of Development Studies
This article was published in the Summer 2016 issue of the Society Now magazine.
Latest News from
Economic and Social Research Council
ESRC funds research led by Open University on care of child migrants20/03/2019 10:37:00
A researcher who travelled to ‘the Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais to see how unaccompanied child migrants lived has secured £1 million of funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to study the care of lone child refugees.
ESRC funds fourth wave of internationally-renowned National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles19/03/2019 16:15:00
The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles begins its fourth study on sexual health and well-being in Britain, led by researchers from UCL in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Glasgow and NatCen Social Research.
Better interventions to target domestic violence15/03/2019 10:37:00
Domestic violence is widely accepted in most developing countries, says a new study of attitudes towards domestic violence in 49 low and middle-income countries across Central, East and South Asia, Central Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, North- and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Calling all UK Horizon 2020 Grant Holders12/03/2019 09:25:00
As the deadline for the UK’s exit from the EU approaches, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is reminding all charities, businesses and research organisations with a UK grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding programme to register their details with UKRI as soon as possible.
ESRC funds two new international projects on trust, governance and the future of democracy11/03/2019 15:42:00
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is announcing £3.5 million of funding for two large research projects on Trust and Global Governance. These projects will run for between three and four years and commenced on 1 March 2019.
Pubertal growth spurt is a recent phenomenon06/03/2019 17:13:00
New research into historical changes in children’s growth patterns could help to tackle stunting in developing countries.
Healthy living with long-time partner25/02/2019 09:25:00
Several studies have found that marriage has health benefits, but new research shows that living in a partnership – married or not – is good for your health. Couples living together in long-term relationships seem to be as healthy as married couples, according to a study led by Dr Brienna Perelli-Harris at the ESRC Centre for Population Change.
First ESRC-CONACYT collaboration to support smart cities research21/02/2019 12:07:00
With support from the Newton Fund, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), are pleased to announce a new Mexico-UK binational programme of research which will enhance our understanding of smart cities.