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Comparative Perspectives on Child Poverty: A review of poverty measures


  • Howard White
  • Jennifer Leavy
  • Andrew Masters


Child poverty matters directly because children constitute a large share of the population, and indirectly for future individual and national well-being. Developed country measures of child poverty are dominated by income-poverty, although health and education are often included. But these are not necessarily the most direct measures of the things that matter to children. Moreover, a broader range of factors than material well-being matter for child development; family and community play an important role. The conclusion is that social and psychological variables are an important component of child welfare. Can such a conclusion be extended to developing countries? It might be thought not, since the dictates of a focus on absolute poverty imply concern with fundamentals such as malnutrition, illiteracy and premature death, and the things that cause these outcomes. But such a view is short-sighted. Child development concerns are at least as important in developing countries as developed ones, if less well understood. Hence, approaches to child welfare in developing countries (both measurement and policy) should also adopt a broad-based approach that embraces diverse aspects of the quality of a child' s life, including child rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard White & Jennifer Leavy & Andrew Masters, 2003. "Comparative Perspectives on Child Poverty: A review of poverty measures," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 379-396.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:4:y:2003:i:3:p:379-396 DOI: 10.1080/1464988032000125755

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Biggeri & Jean-Francois Trani & Vincenzo Mauro, 2011. "Child Poverty Measurement: the Case of Afghanistan," Working Papers - Economics wp2011_18.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    2. repec:eee:cysrev:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:116-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gina Crivello & Laura Camfield & Martin Woodhead, 2009. "How Can Children Tell Us About Their Wellbeing? Exploring the Potential of Participatory Research Approaches within Young Lives," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 90(1), pages 51-72, January.
    4. Marlous de Milliano & Sudhanshu Handa, 2014. "Pauvreté et privation des enfants au Mali : les premières estimations nationales," Papers inwopa768, Innocenti Working Papers.
    5. Jean-Francois Trani & Mario Biggeri & Vincenzo Mauro, 2013. "The Multidimensionality of Child Poverty: Evidence from Afghanistan," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 112(2), pages 391-416, June.
    6. Keetie Roelen & Franziska Gassmann & Chris Neubourg, 2010. "Child Poverty in Vietnam: Providing Insights Using a Country-Specific and Multidimensional Model," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 129-145, August.
    7. Marlous de Milliano & Sudhanshu Handa, 2014. "Child Poverty and Deprivation in Mali: The first national estimates," Papers inwopa765, Innocenti Working Papers.
    8. Gassmann F. & Siegel M. & Vanore M. & Waidler J., 2013. "The impact of migration on children left behind in Moldova," MERIT Working Papers 043, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    9. Roelen, Keetie & Gassmann, Franziska, 2008. "Measuring Child Poverty and Well-Being: a literature review," MPRA Paper 8981, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Laura Valadez Martinez, 2014. "Bridging the Gap: Conceptual and Empirical Dimensions of Child Wellbeing in Rural Mexico," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 567-591, April.
    11. Geranda Notten & Keetie Roelen, 2010. "Cross-national comparison of monetary and multidimensional child poverty in the European Union: puzzling with the few pieces that the EUSILC provides," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 13510, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    12. Chris De Neubourg & Yekaterina Chzhen & Gill Main & Bruno Martorano & Leonardo Menchini & Jonathan Bradshaw, 2012. "Child Deprivation, Multidimensional Poverty and Monetary Poverty in Europe," Papers inwopa657, Innocenti Working Papers, revised 2012.
    13. Yekaterina Chzhen & Lucia Ferrone, 2017. "Multidimensional Child Deprivation and Poverty Measurement: Case Study of Bosnia and Herzegovina," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 999-1014, April.

    More about this item


    Children; Poverty; Income-Poverty; Child Development; Family; Education; Health;

    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Economic Systems


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