The article tries to establish the scope of poverty, based on the information regarding the sources of income of individuals and households (entailed in the National Census 2002). Poor people are operationalized in the research as the ones deriving their income from welfare or other types of social transfers (excluding unemployment benefits). The analyses were conducted separately for men and women. Moreover, I have taken into account the territorial dispersion of people living on welfare in various voivodships, including the division into city and village. I wondered whether welfare transfers or social pensions become substitutive or complementary forms of securing the needs of the disadvantaged in these voivodships. The conclusion stemming from the analyses is that the Census 2002 data do not allow for precise measurement of the scope of poverty. There are significant differences between the criteria regarding the establishment of poverty.- like the one applied in the census (income criterion) and in the article (receiving welfare benefits as the main source of income). Thus, the census - providing information about the percentage of population living on social transfers - is in fact broadening our knowledge about the number of people living in the conditions of permanent poverty and for that reason - making the incipience of the forming underclass.
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