CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

In countries of the South, poverty indicators are used as a basis for different levels of action: local, national and international. However, those indicators have limitations for measuring poverty among older people because they are constructed on the basis of household data. They neglect the relationships that exist between older people and their descendants, even when they are geographically distant, as well as differences in economic situation within households. Yet, in contexts where social policies towards older people are under-developed, it is largely the support and private relationships between individuals that enable older people to meet both their everyday needs and exceptional expenditure. Based on an analysis of qualitative interviews on inter-generational relations conducted in Uganda with older people and their close relatives, this article challenges the use of official measurements of poverty to estimate poverty among older people. The difficulty of quantifying production, consumption and exchange at the individual level necessitate prudence when using these indicators.

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