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How Poor is The Poverty Line?: A matter of dietary norms and perceptions
Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Millennium Development Goal 1 (MDG 1) on halving extreme poverty is measured with the international poverty line. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the measurement of MDG 1 by reviewing the robustness of the international poverty line and some of its national sub-reports. There are at least two problems in assessing a reliable poverty line, namely what constitutes extreme poverty and what kind of life situation this refers to. Through a qualitative content analysis, the study shows that the selected national reports lack a reliable reference for human dietary energy requirements pivotal for estimating a fair threshold for food needs. In the case that a reliable source was used, the activity level was prone to a wide range of interpretations and lacked procedural consistency.  The FAO (2011) has presented minimum dietary energy requirements that are below the references used in the national reports, which could shift the poverty line. The study also shows that the concept of “extreme poverty” has been used inconsistently. MDG 1 identifies extreme poverty as the inability to meet basic food- and non-food needs. The international poverty line is based on a myriad of national poverty lines ranging from minimum- to generous needs, where extreme poverty is defined as people barely having enough for the food component alone. These two variables create obstacles in setting a reliable international poverty line. A small shift in the international poverty line changes the poverty rates substantially, making it difficult for poverty programs and MDG 1 in truly identifying the people in most need of help. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 41 p.
Keyword [en]
Poverty assessment, Millennium development Goal, MDG 1, Extreme poverty, Basic needs, Human energy requirements, Minimum Dietary Energy Requirements, MDER, Poverty Line, Calories, kcal, Recommended intake, Food needs, poverty rates, poverty sensitivity
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-13955OAI: diva2:465966
Subject / course
Environment and development
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-12-16 Created: 2011-12-15 Last updated: 2011-12-16Bibliographically approved

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