There are many other forms of deprivation. One can be deprived of psychological or social well-being (e.g., one can have impaired self-esteem or heightened anxiety and stress or be socially isolated), and one can lack physical well-being (e.g., one can have a chronic disease or disabling condition or be subjected to a high risk of violence in one's neighborhood). There are also many conditions that can lead to deprivation on one or more of these dimensions. For example, people who live with a family member who abuses drugs or alcohol likely suffer deprivation in terms of their psychological health, and perhaps their physical health and economic standard of living as well. People who live in a crime-ridden neighborhood may be deprived in a number of ways—through the psychological fear they are likely to harbor, the actual physical harm or property loss that they may experience, and the adverse social and economic effects (e.g., declining property values) that may result because the broader society shuns their neighborhood. People who are illiterate may experience many deprivations to full participation in society: they may have great difficulty in finding and keeping a good job; they may have problems in traveling around their area or in negotiating a good price for the products they buy; they may avoid voting for public office; and they may experience social shame. People who are without health insurance may be at risk of psychological and economic, as well as physical, deprivation. People who lose their job or who have never been successful in finding one may suffer a deprivation of both income and psychic esteem. Finally, people who, for one or another reason, lack sufficient resources to provide for an adequate standard of living may suffer not only economic hardship, but psychological stress and physical problems as well.
We encourage the development of indicators for monitoring trends over time and among population groups on all of these different dimensions of deprivation. Also, we encourage work on the relationships among them. For example, one element of economic or material deprivation may be inadequate housing, which, in turn, can imply exposure to risks that go well beyond income inadequacy (e.g., fire hazard, lead poisoning). For fuller understanding and to inform policy, a breadth of information and analysis is needed on the well-being of the population, including and going beyond the economic dimension.
But the focus of our work is on economic deprivation, narrowly defined. We are concerned with the concept, definition, and measurement of economic poverty, or what many call material poverty. We contend that this relatively narrow conceptualization of poverty is appropriate for an official poverty measure for several reasons. First, it is a familiar concept that, in a broad sense, has formed the basis of official poverty measurement in the United States for the past several decades. It is a notion of poverty that accords with political rhetoric as least as far back as Franklin D. Roosevelt's concern for Americans who were ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished.