In this paper we investigate the urban/rural dimension of poverty in developed countries. We provide original estimates for Italy, we gather published statistics for France and the United States, and we produce novel cross-country estimates from the LIS database. We show that the size of urban poverty depends on where the boundaries of metropolitan districts are drawn and we observe that overlooking geographical differences in the cost of living is a particularly relevant hypothesis. We find that in France and the United States post-war economic growth and urbanisation were accompanied by a substantial reduction of the poverty risk for the rural population, while poverty rates improved less, or even sometimes deteriorated, for the urban population. The lack of a standard definition of urban/rural area precludes a rigorous comparative study. Our results indicate, however, that only in few countries (Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States) the greatest poverty rates are found in central cities, while in all other developed countries poor persons are still relatively more frequent in rural areas. This pattern is stronger in the four non-developed economies examined here.
Brandolini, A. and Cipollone, P. (2003), "14. Urban poverty in developed countries", Inequality, Welfare and Poverty: Theory and Measurement (Research on Economic Inequality, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 309-343. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1049-2585(03)09015-XDownload as .RIS
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