Incidence of Poverty

The three measures of poverty discussed in Chapter 6 will now be applied to the
data collected from the sample of households. This chapter will describe the extent
of poverty among the households and population of the United Kingdom and its
constituent regions in 1968-9. It will outline the relationship between short-term and
long-term poverty and portray the general ‘structure’ of poverty among the
As judged by the state’s or government standard, 7 per cent of the households in
the sample were in poverty. By the deprivation standard, the number was 25 per
cent. However, the difference between these two results is greater than it would be if
the ‘real’ rather than the ‘basic’ government standard were to be used. If the
government standard were to be treated not just as equivalent to the basic scale rates
of supplementary benefit but were also to include the regular discretionary payments
which are often added to these rates, as well as the income and assets which are
ordinarily disregarded in determining eligibility, the figure of 7 per cent would be
considerably higher. The ‘real’ standard could be applied only by making
complicated adjustments for each family’s circumstances. Instead, a margin of
income up to 40 per cent above the ‘basic’ standard has been taken to show the
numbers in the population who may also be in poverty or on the boundaries of
poverty as defined by society.1
Further evidence on the real levels of income of
recipients of supplementary benefit and the numbers who are eligible to receive such
benefit will be given later. In addition to the 7 per cent of households in poverty
according to the basic government standard, there were another 24 per cent on the
margins of this standard, as Table 7.1 shows. That is, these households had an
annual net disposable income of only up to 40 per cent above the standard.
By the state’s standard, the percentage of the people in the sample in poverty and

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