Site of the Week: Demos – a UK think tank

Demos is “a London-based think tank. We generate ideas to improve politics and policy, and give people more power over their lives. Our vision is a society of free and powerful citizens.”

“A multi-dimensional measure of poverty will give a more complete picture of poverty in modern Britain…”

What does it mean to live in poverty? For decades, politicians and policymakers have tended to go straight to the most common definition of poverty: households that live below 60 per cent of median equivalised income. But this definition of relative income poverty has an arbitrary nature (why not 50 per cent or 70 per cent of median income?) – and leaves a host of questions unanswered.

In 2010, Demos is launching a flagship programme of work to develop a new, multi-dimensional measure of poverty that will take into account the full range of factors that affect quality of life and wellbeing.

The idea of poverty is widely seen as living below a standard below which nobody – or children, at least – should be expected to live. But a family’s living standard is affected by much more than their income, or whether they are experiencing material deprivation. It is affected by levels of access to health and education services, including their access to a GP or a dentist, to high-quality hospitals and to good schools, and by factors such as quality of housing.

(via Demos | Projects.)

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