Poverty in Turkey: Determining the Absolute Poverty on a Regional Basis

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Acet Dönmez G.

19th International Conference of MEEA, 9 - 11 Ekim 2020, ss.26

  • Yayın Türü: Bildiri / Özet Bildiri
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.26


Poverty, described as the situation of a person who cannot meet a minimum welfare level,

has been an important problem all around the world for a long time. To cope with this issue

effectively, determining the poor regions is a necessary step. In the studies examining the poverty

in Turkey, relative poverty lines -defining people whose consumption (or income) are lower than

some percentage of median consumption in the country as poor- are used because Turkish Statistical

Institute (TurkStat) has been estimating poverty lines in that form since 2010. However,

relative poverty lines reflect the distributional issues rather than the poverty itself. Besides, they

are typically suggested only for high income countries where poverty is rare. For analyzing

the poverty in a single country, especially in a developing one, generating an absolute poverty

line-consumption expenditure to meet a minimum living standard acceptable- is regarded as a

better way. This paper aims at generating absolute poverty lines for Turkey on a regional basis

over the period of 2003-2018. TurkStat’s old absolute poverty lines -which are available until

2010- are recalculated for the years after 2010 by taking inflation into account. Furthermore,

all the poverty lines are transformed to regional poverty lines by considering the differences in

prices and in average household sizes among the regions. Then, level, depth, and severity of

poverty are estimated by using micro data obtained from TurkStat through the methods of head

count ratio, poverty gap ratio, and squared poverty gap. Preliminary results show that poverty

indicators highly differ across regions due to considerable variation in prices and other factors

among the regions of Turkey when absolute -and regional- poverty lines are used. Focusing

on the poorer regions would make the policies against poverty and regional inequalities more