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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Mahoney, Bette S.; Khan, Abdul
    Year: 1976

    Poor persons living in the United States in the 1970s are rich in contrast to their counterparts in other times and places. They are not poor if by poor is meant the subsistence levels of living common in some other countries. Nor are most poor like their counterparts in this country fifty or one hundred years ago. This country is concerned about poverty, its causes and correlates. It is willing to relieve the poverty of some of the poor and it wants to measure the effectiveness of its efforts to do so. None of this can be done without some idea of who is to be considered poor and who is not.

    The report deals with measuring the current status of the poor rather than with the causes or solutions to poverty. A family is none the less poor for having arrived at that state of its own accord. Similarly, the fact that an individual could with modest and reasonable effort escape from poverty has nothing to do with whether he is currently poor...

    The study examines (1) regional, climatic, metropolitan, urban, suburban, and rural differences in the poverty measure, (2)...

    Poor persons living in the United States in the 1970s are rich in contrast to their counterparts in other times and places. They are not poor if by poor is meant the subsistence levels of living common in some other countries. Nor are most poor like their counterparts in this country fifty or one hundred years ago. This country is concerned about poverty, its causes and correlates. It is willing to relieve the poverty of some of the poor and it wants to measure the effectiveness of its efforts to do so. None of this can be done without some idea of who is to be considered poor and who is not.

    The report deals with measuring the current status of the poor rather than with the causes or solutions to poverty. A family is none the less poor for having arrived at that state of its own accord. Similarly, the fact that an individual could with modest and reasonable effort escape from poverty has nothing to do with whether he is currently poor...

    The study examines (1) regional, climatic, metropolitan, urban, suburban, and rural differences in the poverty measure, (2) differences due to family size and head of household, and  (3) the availability of state and other subnational data more current than the decennial Census, including cost of living, cost of housing, labor market and job availability, prevailing wage rates, unemployment rates, income distribution, and the eligibility criteria for aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) under state plans approved for Title IV of the Social Security Act. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Sen, Amartya
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1976

    The primary aim of this paper is to propose a new measure of poverty, which should avoid some of the shortcomings of the measures currently in use. An axiomatic approach is used to derive the measure. The conception of welfare in the axiom set is ordinal. The information requirement for the new measure is quite limited, permitting practical use. (author abstract)

    The primary aim of this paper is to propose a new measure of poverty, which should avoid some of the shortcomings of the measures currently in use. An axiomatic approach is used to derive the measure. The conception of welfare in the axiom set is ordinal. The information requirement for the new measure is quite limited, permitting practical use. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Foster, James; Greer, Joel; Thorbecke, Erik
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1984

    Several recent studies of poverty have demonstrated the usefulness of breading down a population into subgroups defined along ethnic, geographical, or other lines. Such an approach to poverty analysis places requirements on the poverty measure in addition to those proposed by Sen. In particular, the question of how the measure relates subgroup poverty to total poverty is crucial to its applicability in this form of analysis. At the very least, one would expect that a decrease in the poverty level of one subgroup ceteris paribus should lead to less poverty for the population as a whole. At best, one might hope to obtain a quantitative estimate of the effect of a change in subgroup poverty on total poverty, or to give a subgroup’s contribution to total poverty.

    One way to satisfy the above criteria is to use a poverty measure that is additively decomposable in the sense that total poverty is a weighted average of the subgroup poverty levels. However, the existing decomposable poverty measures are inadequate in that they violate one or more of the basic properties...

    Several recent studies of poverty have demonstrated the usefulness of breading down a population into subgroups defined along ethnic, geographical, or other lines. Such an approach to poverty analysis places requirements on the poverty measure in addition to those proposed by Sen. In particular, the question of how the measure relates subgroup poverty to total poverty is crucial to its applicability in this form of analysis. At the very least, one would expect that a decrease in the poverty level of one subgroup ceteris paribus should lead to less poverty for the population as a whole. At best, one might hope to obtain a quantitative estimate of the effect of a change in subgroup poverty on total poverty, or to give a subgroup’s contribution to total poverty.

    One way to satisfy the above criteria is to use a poverty measure that is additively decomposable in the sense that total poverty is a weighted average of the subgroup poverty levels. However, the existing decomposable poverty measures are inadequate in that they violate one or more of the basic properties proposed by Sen. Stated another way, of all the measures that are acceptable by the Sen criteria, none is decomposable. In fact, the Sen measure and its variants that rely on rank-order weighting fail to satisfy the basic condition that an increase in subgroup poverty must increase total poverty. This note is a first step towards resolving these inadequacies.

    In what follows we present a simple, new poverty measure that (i) is additively decomposable with population-share weights, (ii) satisfies the basic properties proposed by Sen, and (iii) is justified by a relative deprivation concept of poverty. The inequality measure associated with our poverty measure is shown to by the squared coefficient of variation and indeed the poverty measure may be expressed as a combination of this inequality measure, the headcount ratio, and the income-gap ratio in fashion similar to Sen. We generalize the new poverty measure to a parametric family of measures where the parameter can be interpreted as an indicator of “aversion to poverty.” A brief empirical application demonstrates the usefulness of the decomposability of poverty. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mulroy, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1990

    Federal cutbacks in affordable housing programs during the Reagan years and a reduced supply of affordable rental units in the private market have created a housing crisis that is injurious to households headed by single mothers. Based on research conducted with low-income single mothers trying to participate in the federally funded Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, this study found that those most likely to receive program benefits were white single mothers with small families who had limited aspirations for better housing. Minority women with multiple unmet housing needs and high aspirations for relocating to a better living environment were least likely to receive program benefits. Social workers trained in community organizing, planning, social administration and policy practice have the skills to assume leadership in the design of more effective and equitable affordable housing policies, programs and implementation strategies to improve single mothers' access to the affordable housing of their choice. (author abstract)

    Federal cutbacks in affordable housing programs during the Reagan years and a reduced supply of affordable rental units in the private market have created a housing crisis that is injurious to households headed by single mothers. Based on research conducted with low-income single mothers trying to participate in the federally funded Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, this study found that those most likely to receive program benefits were white single mothers with small families who had limited aspirations for better housing. Minority women with multiple unmet housing needs and high aspirations for relocating to a better living environment were least likely to receive program benefits. Social workers trained in community organizing, planning, social administration and policy practice have the skills to assume leadership in the design of more effective and equitable affordable housing policies, programs and implementation strategies to improve single mothers' access to the affordable housing of their choice. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mead, Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1992

    Thirty years ago, the great national debate was how to help ordinary, workaday Americans achieve the good things in life. Today, we are preoccupied with—and increasingly divided over—how to cope with the problems of poor and dependent Americans, most of whom cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Mead provides overwhelming and disturbing evidence that passive poverty—the failure of most of the poor to work at all—reflects defeatism more than lack of opportunity. In this controversial book, Mead proposes concrete steps to overcome the inertia of the nonworking poor trapped in the welfare system. If the poor return to work, he suggests, American politics would focus once again on the problems of the working Americans. (publisher abstract)

    Thirty years ago, the great national debate was how to help ordinary, workaday Americans achieve the good things in life. Today, we are preoccupied with—and increasingly divided over—how to cope with the problems of poor and dependent Americans, most of whom cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Mead provides overwhelming and disturbing evidence that passive poverty—the failure of most of the poor to work at all—reflects defeatism more than lack of opportunity. In this controversial book, Mead proposes concrete steps to overcome the inertia of the nonworking poor trapped in the welfare system. If the poor return to work, he suggests, American politics would focus once again on the problems of the working Americans. (publisher abstract)

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