How urban poor community leaders define and measure poverty
SOMSOOk BOONYABANCHA and THOMAS KERR Sept 2015
Abstract This paper describes how urban poor community leaders in six nations (Cambodia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam) worked together to define poverty, assess its causes, and suggest how best to measure it and address it. Their work drew on over a thousand detailed household expenditure surveys from different settlements in a range of cities in the six nations. Five distinct groups could be distinguished among these urban poor households, and the work suggested that two poverty lines were needed. The community leaders also reviewed national and international poverty lines and found these to be incompatible with reality, especially the US$ 1.25/person/day poverty line. The paper draws some conclusions and describes plans for the country teams to further this work, including engaging with their national governments over the definition and measurement of urban poverty.