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Cross-national Picture of European Poverty Measured by Regional, National and European Standards

By Olli Kangas and Veli-matti RitakallioOlli Kangas and Veli-matti Ritakallio


The starting point in the paper is the relative concept of poverty. We will study how our picture of poverty will change if we accept a very relative concept of poverty. The first problem we encountered was the selection of the benchmark. A couple of alternative ways to conduct relativizations were selected. First, we applied the conventional poverty approach. The poor were those whose income remained below 60 % of the national equivalent disposable income. Second, we collapsed European nations together into one data pool and calculated a common poverty line for the EU. This EU line was then applied in subsequent analyses. Thirdly, we decomposed nation states into smaller units representing the poorest and richest areas in respective countries. Data were compiled from the Luxembourg Income Study. If we apply the conventional nation-based ways of operationalizing poverty (poverty line 60 % of median income) the poverty rate varies from 7,1 % in Sweden to 20,5 % in Italy. The shift to the common European poverty line will expand that gap. The variation is from 0,7 % in Luxembourg to 43,1 % in Spain. Numerically and methodologically the most interesting issues are revealed when we compare regional, national and EU level relativizations. Ou

Year: 2011
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