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Data poverty and inequality

12 May 2022
2 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 9

There are a number of ways of defining poverty, no single definition is recognised universally. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2022) suggests there are three levels of poverty:

In the UK, poverty affects millions of people. They may be unable to heat their home, pay their rent or buy the essentials for their children. It can result in marginalisation and discrimination as a result of their financial circumstances, depriving people of the chance to participate fully in society.

The causes of poverty are multifaceted, reducing a person's resources or increasing their needs along with the costs of meeting them. Some causes can also be consequences, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of.

Poverty can be defined in other ways besides having a low household income. Another approach used considers if a household is materially deprived, meaning that they lack the ability to access key goods or services (House of Commons Library, 2021). Data poverty is defined by Lucas et al (2020) as ‘Individuals, households or communities who cannot afford sufficient, private and secure mobile or broadband data to meet their essential needs’.

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