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Keywords:

  • basic family budgets;
  • economic pressure;
  • hunger;
  • income-to-needs ratio;
  • poverty thresholds;
  • social exclusion

Most family scholars take the concept of poverty for granted. The variety of ways people have chosen to define and measure this concept, however, often makes it difficult to interpret or compare research results. We review and critique the ways that poverty has been measured in the family and child literatures as well as the measures that have been used to help understand variations in adaptation among those in poverty. In addition to reviewing more common measures, we include discussions of two new measures that have the potential to contribute to the literature on poverty: basic family budgets and social exclusion.