Relative poverty is when households receive 50% less than typical household incomes, so they do have some money but still not enough money to afford anything more than the essentials. This form of poverty is, changed depending on the financial growth of the state (Habitat for Humanity, n.d). Many sociologists have reasoned that it is necessary to debate poverty in terms of life styles. It is thought that poverty also occurs where individuals of society are excluded from the lifestyle of the community to which they are a part of .Townsend carried out several studies of relative poverty. He believed that poverty extended beyond a simple lack of material resources. Town stead defines poverty as ‘‘Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities, and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged or approved, in the societies to which they belong. Their resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family that they are, in effect, excluded from ordinary patterns, customs and activities’’ (Townsend, 1979). In order to put his definition of poverty into operation, Townsend devised a deprivation index. Each household was given a score on deprivation, the higher the score the more the family suffered deprivation. He concluded that those living on less than 150% of basic supplementary levels were suffering from poverty. Townsend adjusted the income based on different family situations, for example, age of children and disabled members of the family because of the process he had followed he felt able to claim his figures and definition were scientific and objective. There was some criticism to Townsend’s research the biggest one was made by David Piachaud. He stated that Townsend has not considered people’s choice. If someone chose to be vegan or choose to stay at home, in the deprivation index they would be classed as living in poverty when in truth it was a lifestyle choice.
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