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Measuring poverty with the Microcensus: Methodological aspects and application

Even though the German Microcensus offers considerable advantages for time-comparative and subgroup-related analysis of relative income poverty, it has rarely been applied so far in poverty research. This might be due to the comparatively elaborate calculation of income poverty measures since household income is collected in bands in the German Microcensus. This paper shows that the banded income data is especially problematic for poverty analyses over time and thus requires a specific calculation routine. The simple usage of the midpoint of the income bands, however, carries the risk of producing statistical artefacts in time series which in turn lead to erroneous social political conclusions. This paper addresses these problems by presenting a SPSS syntax tool computing Stauder and Hüning`s (2004) household specific poverty probabilities as the adequate calculation procedure.

Boehle, Mara (2015): Armutsmessung mit dem Mikrozensus: Methodische Aspekte und Umsetzung für Querschnitts- und Trendanalysen. GESIS Papers 2015/16. Köln: GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften. [.pdf]