Measures of Material Hardship: Research Brief. Why are researchers and policymakers are interested in measuring material hardship?

07/27/2004

The proponents of material hardship measures see them as an important complement to income-based measures, providing a different picture of the extent to which families are able to meet their basic needs. Moreover, material hardship measures have been portrayed as making more sense to the public than the official poverty statistic, providing more concrete information about the living conditions of the poor and non-poor. As noted by one group of researchers, measuring material hardship gets at the issue of, what does it mean to be poor, by examining families' living conditions and the extent to which they meet their basic needs.

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