Identifying the Poor

Papers on Measuring Poverty to celebrate the Publication "The State of the Poor" (1797) by Eden


Pyatt, G.,
Ward, M.

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Poverty has long been recognized as a socio-economic problem. Objective analyses of a quantitative nature are a crucial prerequisite to understanding the nature of poverty, where social and personal sentiments play a role of their own, next to political considerations. One of the first comprehensive attempts to assess the nature of poverty with a view to alleviate its consequences was a three volume series by Sir Frederick Morton Eden in 1779 titled The State of the Poor. Next to an evaluation of Morton Eden's significance then and now, this book discusses how perceptions of poverty have developed since that time. A proper understanding of causes of poverty, indispensable for developing policies to alleviate it, requires a quantitative grasp on the subject that only statistics can provide. The present book provides eloquent proofs of this necessity, not from a single, static point of view, but from a variety of legitimate, but differing perspectives.