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
UK Climate Resilience town hall meeting16/09/2019 15:25:00
UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and the Met Office invite applications to attend a town hall meeting focused on UK Climate Resilience in London (venue to be confirmed) on Thursday 3 October 2019.
UK contribution to social science research on climate change 'significant'13/09/2019 14:25:00
The UK makes a significant contribution to social science research on climate change but important research gaps remain, a comprehensive review of UK-funded research in this area finds.
Pre-announcement: Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources research programme09/09/2019 12:25:00
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) would like to announce the timetable for a new £12.4m research programme on the Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources (SMMR), delivered in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Marine Scotland.
Mental health, civil rights and workplace tech receive £25 million boost04/09/2019 09:25:00
Centres driving advances in social research – such as in mental health treatment and prevention, and civil rights and engagement – received a boost yesterday as the government unveiled £25 million for social science research.
UK joins forces with international experts to tackle global challenges09/08/2019 16:05:00
UK researchers and innovators will work with counterparts across the planet to tackle global challenges such as Ebola outbreaks, the impact of subpolar ocean currents on global climate, and the effect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on society and individuals’ happiness and wellbeing following a major funding announcement.
Pre-announcement: ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge Research Director and Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme05/08/2019 15:25:00
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has now announced its plan for delivering the Healthy Ageing Challenge, an investment of £98 million to enable businesses, including social enterprises, to develop and deliver products, services and business models that will be adopted at scale which support people as they age.
Winners of the ESRC 2019 Celebrating Impact Prize announced10/07/2019 14:33:00
Researchers whose work has made a real difference to society or the economy were celebrated at the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) annual Celebrating Impact Prize awards ceremony at the Royal Society on 9 July.
Productivity institute: expressions of interests invited10/07/2019 10:43:00
As part of the ESRC’s Transforming Productivity Research priority, expressions of interest are being invited from researchers at eligible research organisations to develop bids for a productivity institute.
Prime Minister announces cutting-edge modern slavery research centre10/07/2019 09:25:00
Modern slavery traps over 40 million people worldwide and costs the UK economy more than £3 billion a year. A new research centre, yesterday announced by the Prime Minister, will focus on prevention, victim recovery, supply chains and law enforcement to help put an end to this crime.