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Some Australian Evidence on the Consensual Approach to Poverty Measurement


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  • Saunders, P.
  • Bradbury, B.

    (University of New South Wales, Kensington)


Estimates of poverty in Australia have relied exclusively on the Henderson poverty line, despite extensive criticism of its relevance to contemporary Australian conditions. This paper analyses data from Morgan Gallup Poll (MGP) surveys on the minimum income required by an Australian family of four to keep in health and live decently in order to assess community views on minimum income levels required in Australia. Analysis of how the average response to the MGP question has changed over the last four decades suggests that community views of adequate minimum income levels are adjusted upwards in line with average income levels. This evidence suggests that Australians see poverty more in relative than absolute terms. Data from the July 1987 MGP survey are then used to derive a consensual poverty line based on responses to the minimum income question. The resulting poverty line is well above the Henderson poverty line. The survey data are then used to provide an estimate of poverty among families of four in July 1987 and to investigate some aspects of how family needs vary with family circumstances.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance in its journal Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP).

Volume (Year): 21 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 47-78

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Handle: RePEc:eap:articl:v:21:y:1991:i:1:p:47-78

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  1. Bruce Bradbury, 1988. "Family Size Equivalence Scales and Survey Evaluation of Income and Well-Being," Discussion Papers 005, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter Saunders, 1998. "Using Budget Standards to Assess the Well-Being of Families," Discussion Papers 0093, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  2. Peter Saunders & Cathy Thomson & Ceri Evans, 2000. "Social Change and Social Policy: Results from a Survey of Public Opinion," Discussion Papers 00106, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  3. Bruce Bradbury, 1999. "Tax Theory and Targeting: A Survey," Discussion Papers 00100, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  4. Tony Eardley & Peter Saunders & Ceri Evans, 2000. "Community Attitudes Towards Unemployment, Activity Testing and Mutual Obligation," Discussion Papers 00107, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.


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