General Question

MaisyS's avatar

Why did the percentage of population living in poverty decrease?

Asked by MaisyS (543points) September 10th, 2019

In the famous Breadline Britain study in 1985, researchers Mack and Lansely asked a sample of the whole population what they considered essential needs for living. A deprivation index was formed, including things such as a damp free home and outings for children, and it was found that 7.5 million people or over 10% of the population was living in poverty in the UK.
A few years earlier research had been carried out by Peter Townsend on poverty in the UK through calculation of the total costs of life necessities in that particular society.
Mack and Lansely found that a smaller percentage of the population was living in poverty at the time of their own research.
What could be some reasons for this?

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5 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The more you have the more you want.
More is never enough.
We have an un-official ranking system for citizens to find a mate, and start a family.
With statics half of the population is middle class ¼ poor and ¼ rich. Give or take.
Thats how $1,000,000 is poverty level in rich districts. Like Vancouver and California.

Zaku's avatar

It could be many things, but it sounds like the studies were conducted by and on different people with different ideas about what poverty is. Poverty is a descriptive concept but the actual definition as well as conditions change, and also individual studies often give different results for all sorts of reasons.

As for actual changes in overall poverty levels that one might hope would be caught by all studies, well that too is a very complex subject which involves all sorts of factors – wages, unemployment, inflation on every type of relevant consumer good and expense, age of the population etc etc etc.

@RedDeerGuy1 “The more you have the more you want.”
“More is never enough.”

- Not true, and a recipe for endless pointless destruction of the limited resources the planet has.

As for your fractions, that’s like a typical (9 of 10 Americans) view of what people WISH it were like. It’s horrifyingly nothing like that. See for examples:

this video

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SmashTheState's avatar

The change in poverty levels was the result of the government switching from a LICO (low income cut off) approach to a market basket approach in measuring poverty. People didn’t get any richer; if anything, they got poorer. The difference is that the government deliberately and maliciously disconnected the measure of poverty from relativity to the average income to what they call a more objective standard. This was done to hide the fact that the rich have seen their wealth exploding massively, while everyone else has seen either little growth or actual loss of income relative to overall wealth.

All of this occured in the 80s during the rise of neo-conservatism under Reagan and Thatcher, when the wealthy began pulling away from everyone else and effectively took over control of governments in the West. The switch was disingenuously used as proof that trickle-down voodoo Reaganomics worked. You saw similar systemic changes made at the same time to the way unemployment was tracked, with a new category of “discouraged workers” quietly added so that anyone who had been unemployed for long enough was now magically considered no longer unemployed, and removed from the statistics.

LostInParadise's avatar

According to this chart, the rich have been getting richer and everyone else has been holding fairly steady.

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