Determining minimum standards of living: methodological issues

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    In Australia, sociological research into household budgets and standards of living has long provided a firm basis for policy-makers interested in creating a more inclusive society. The budget approach is, in essence, a simple and intuitive methodology for defining minimum income standards; these include ‘poverty’ thresholds. The budget methodology provides an explicit framework for selecting personal requirements deemed necessary to maintain a particular predefined standard of living. Components are translated through prices into budgets required to purchase them. The last programme of research into household budget standards in Australia is now over a decade old and the work needs to be updated. This is due in part to people’s living standards changing over time, as do their needs. Debates about how best to set minimum social standards are once again popular among social scientists. This article reviews recent methodological developments and issues in budget standards research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-34
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Sociology
    Issue number1
    Early online date13 Dec 2010
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


    • household budgets
    • income standards
    • budget standards

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