Journal of Social Policy


Direct and Indirect Measures of Poverty

Stein Ringen*


Poverty can be defined and measured either directly (in terms of consumption) or indirectly (in terms of income). The relative deprivation concept of poverty is a direct concept; poverty is understood as visible poverty, that is, a low standard of consumption. The income poverty line is an indirect measure; poverty is established as low income. It is argued that recent mainstream poverty research combines a direct definition and an indirect measure. This causes there to be no logical line of deduction between definition and measurement and, along with other problems in the approach, renders the statistics produced invalid.


* Central Bureau of Statistics, Oslo.