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A measure of absolute poverty simply quantifies the number of people whose income or standard of living falls below a certain fixed level, called the poverty line. This might be, for example, the percentage of people in a country who earn less than $30,000 a year for a family of two, or the number of people in the world who earn less than $1 per day. There is no universally accepted income level for what constitutes poverty, and in this sense "absolute" poverty is not necessarily "extreme" poverty. See Income inequality metrics for a discussion of a number of different "absolute" measures of poverty.
This type of measure is often contrasted with measures of relative poverty, which classify entities as "poor" not by comparing them to a fixed cutoff point, but by comparing them to others in the population under study.
- Poverty Indicators, Statistics & Measurement
Absolute poverty can also be used to mean an extremely low standard of living -- for example, lacking adequate water, food, clothing, shelter, or basic health care, due to sheer lack of income or assets.
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