Indicator 65. Percentage of households with incomes below 50% of median income (“relative poverty”)

Rationale and definition:

Relative poverty is defined as the percentage of households with incomes less than half of the national median income. It is an indicator of inequality at the bottom of the income distribution, which acts as a cause of social exclusion and undermines equality of opportunity.


The data should be disaggregated by sex and age of the head of household and by urban/rural locality. If possible with the given survey methodology, ethnicity, religion, language, disability and indigenous status should also be reviewed.

Comments and limitations:

This indicator requires measurement of the national distribution of household income, which is only conducted once every two to three years and data becomes available with monitoring lags of up to three years.1

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:


Primary data source:

Administrative data are preferred, but household surveys can also be used.

Potential lead agency or agencies:

The indicator can be compiled from income distribution data. UNSD, World Bank, or the OECD could take the lead in compiling data.