Is poverty multidimensional? A comparison of income and asset based measures in five Southern African countries

Robyn von Maltzahn, Kevin Durrheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper contests the major emphasis placed on the multidimensional nature of poverty measurement. Instead, it argues that poverty pictures created by different measures and at different units of analysis tend to converge. This argument is derived from a comparison of poverty pictures created using income and asset-based measures at the national and household level in five South African Development Community countries. Although multidimensional measures have value in illuminating subtle differences, the findings indicate a single dimension of poverty that runs throughout all the measures and levels of analysis. However, despite the single poverty picture provided by different measures, the abandonment of these different measures is not supported. Multidimensional measures provide insight into particular elements of poverty that is useful and relevant to poverty interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-162
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Volume86
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dimensions
  • Measurement
  • Poverty
  • Southern Africa
  • Units of analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences

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