VOL. 2, NO. 4, PGS. 43–59


Measuring Poverty
Forms and Consequences
Araceli Damián González

Araceli Damián González is a Professor at the Centre for Demographic and Urban Studies of El Colegio de México and a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the General Congress of the United Mexican States.

This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.

In general, the exercise of poverty measurement has tended to minimise the phenomenon by setting very low satisfaction thresholds that do not recognise the social and economic rights for all human beings to lead a dignified life. This is one of the reasons why poverty reduction programmes focus particularly, at best, on overcoming hunger and extreme poverty. It is argued, at least in academia, that poverty measurement should be conceived as an exercise with moral implications, unlike official methods. Official poverty measurement methods and thresholds, because of the parameters they use, exclude from social policies to overcome poverty specific groups in society that should be part of the target population.

The schools of thought that have dominated the measurement of poverty (and welfare economics) have led to very low thresholds of satisfaction of human needs. The way poverty has been measured by the World Bank and, in particular, by the Mexican government has created a biased understanding of the phenomenon in our society and has led the state to reduce its commitment to the poor.

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