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Validation and Testing of the Lived Poverty Index Scale (LPI) in a Poor South African Community


The provision of basic needs is one of the integrated approaches to poverty alleviation. This study has its focus on the physical and material components of the concept of basic needs. Physical and material basic needs consist of a bouquet of components which are to a large extent interlink and related. Basic needs components include for example housing, basic services, income, food security and education. This study aims to identify the main basic needs components and also to test the validity and reliability of the basic needs scale used by Afrobarometer known as the “Lived Poverty Index” (LPI) in Africa. The scale officially consists of six statements focusing on basic needs. For the purpose of this study, the authors have added three additional statements, based on the literature review of basic needs, to the LPI. The additional statements complement the six original statements. It was confirmed that the LPI (basic needs) is a one-dimensional construct, and this finding is consistent with findings across various samples and groups within other countries. The study could serve as a standard concerning LPI (basic needs) for communities in South Africa and other developing countries.

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Correspondence to E. Keyser.

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Meyer, D.F., Keyser, E. Validation and Testing of the Lived Poverty Index Scale (LPI) in a Poor South African Community. Soc Indic Res 129, 147–159 (2016).

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  • Lived Poverty Index
  • Basic needs
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Validation
  • South Africa