The Economic History Review

Seebohm Rowntree and the postwar poverty puzzle

Volume 53 Issue 3
Home > The Economic History Review > Seebohm Rowntree and the postwar poverty puzzle
Pages: 517-543Authors: Roy >. Bailey, Timothy J. Hatton
Published online: January 22, 2003DOI: 10.1111/1468-0289.00169

Log in to access the full article.

In his third social survey of York carried out in 1950, Seebohm Rowntree reported a steep decline since 1936 of the percentage of households in poverty. He attributed the bulk of this decline to government welfare reforms enacted during and after the war. This article re-examines the survivingrecords from the 1950 survey, using a revised poverty line and looking more closely at the measurement of income. It also re-assesses the impact of welfare reforms on working-class poverty, and finds that poverty in York was significantly higher, and the contribution of welfare reform substantially less, than was originally reported.