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Keywords:

  • I32;
  • I38
  • absolute poverty;
  • relative poverty;
  • official poverty;
  • United States;
  • European Union

Financial poverty indicators assess which people have few financial resources and are thereby at risk of having an unacceptably low living standard. Most countries use one or several “official” poverty indicators, but they typically use either an absolute or a relative benchmark to determine what is unacceptable; absolute benchmarks are based on basic needs or rights while relative benchmarks depend on what is considered to be a “normal” living standard. Applying the absolute U.S. and the relative EU poverty indicators on the U.S. and 15 EU member states, this research shows that it makes sense to use both benchmarks.