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Living conditions: classification of households using the Kohonen algorithm


  • Sophie Ponthieux

    () (INSEE - INSEE, Division "Conditions de vie des ménages" - INSEE)

  • Marie Cottrell

    () (SAMOS - Statistique Appliquée et MOdélisation Stochastique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, MATISSE - Modélisation Appliquée, Trajectoires Institutionnelles et Stratégies Socio-Économiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


In the analysis of poverty and social exclusion, indicators of living conditions are some interesting non-monetary complements to the usual measurements in terms of current or annual income. Living conditions depend in fact on longer term factors than income, and provide further information on households' actual resources that allow to compare more accurately between living standards. But in counterpart, a difficulty comes from the qualitative nature of the information, and the large number of dimensions and items that may be taken into account; in other words, living conditions are difficult to “measure”. A consequence is that very often, the information is either used only partly, or reduced into a global score of (bad) living conditions, that results from counting “negative” items, and the qualitative dimension is lost. In this paper, we propose to use the Kohonen algorithm first to describe how the elements of living conditions are combined, and secondly to classify households according to their living conditions. The main interest of a classification is to make appear not only quantitative differences in the “levels” of living conditions, but also qualitative differences within similar “levels”.

Suggested Citation

  • Sophie Ponthieux & Marie Cottrell, 2001. "Living conditions: classification of households using the Kohonen algorithm," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00133837, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00133837
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 1996. "Resources, Deprivation, and Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287858, June.
    2. Susan E. Mayer & Christopher Jencks, 1989. "Poverty and the Distribution of Material Hardship," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 88-114.
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    Cited by:

    1. Houda Haffoudhi & Racem Mehdi & Gam Abdelkader, 2015. "Understanding Democratic Transition Using Self-Organizing Maps: a Special Focus on Arab Spring Countries," Working Papers 958, Economic Research Forum, revised Oct 2015.

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    Kohonen maps; Living conditions;


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