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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.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Volume (Year): 4 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 379-396

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:4:y:2003:i:3:p:379-396
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