Estimates of Relative and Absolute Poverty Rates for the Working Population in Developed Countries

Summary: 

This paper provides estimates of relative and absolute poverty for the working population in OECD countries, using the micro-data sets maintained by the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS).1 To our knowledge, the paper presents the first ever estimates of absolute poverty calculated for the working population in developed countries. Earlier estimates of absolute poverty (e.g. UNDP (1997), ILO (1999) based on Smeeding (1997), focused on the total population.

The paper is divided into three major parts. The first part presents estimates of relative poverty rates for the working population. The relative poverty rate is defined as the proportion of households reporting labour income with income less than one half median equivalent income. The second part of the paper presents estimates of the rate of absolute poverty for the working population. The absolute poverty rate is defined as the proportion of households reporting labour income earning less than $14 US per day per person. The third part of the paper provides estimates of the absolute number of persons and earners in poor working households. 

Publication date: 
Jun 2004
Author: 
Andrew Sharpe
Publisher: 
Centre for the Study of Living Standards
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