Ireland’s economic prosperity has provided the context for a much greater focus on issues of poverty and social exclusion. This is evident in the policy commitments contained in national strategies such as Towards 2016, the National Development Plan 2007 -2013 and the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007 -2016. In such an evidence-based policy environment, policy-makers require a robust system of indicators that can be used to monitor and evaluate progress towards key social goals, including the eradication of poverty.
The objective when measuring poverty is to find the best way to capture most accurately the number of poor in our society. The reality in Ireland and elsewhere, however, is that measuring poverty is complicated by a range of problems and challenges. Part of the difficulty stems from differences of opinion about the nature of poverty and how it should be defined. There are other challenges in terms of the limitations and complexity of the measures themselves and the sheer volume of international academic research, literature, policy documents and reports on issues relating to poverty measurement.
The research which forms the basis of An Investigation of the Measurement of Poverty in Ireland sets out to investigate the main difficulties associated with the measurement of poverty in Ireland, providing a clear explanation, synthesis and analysis of the key issues. It also explores the scope for solutions. This book is intended to contribute to an enhanced understanding among policy-makers and the wider public of the challenges facing those who are working towards a more robust, reliable and publicly credible means of gauging the level of poverty in Ireland.