Most attempts to measure poverty use household or family income or expenditure as the basis for counting or calculating the extent of poverty, as discussed in Chapter 7. Even when individual income is used, measurement tends to treat all individuals similarly as recipients of income without comparing their different circumstances or obligations. Insofar as this is explained or justified, and generally it is not, the assumption is that whilst income and expenditure are matters of public knowledge and concern, and thus amenable to public scrutiny and measurement, households and family circumstances and obligations are private matters that cannot and should not be the focus of public research.
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