Poverty means more than having a low income and includes exclusion from a minimally accepted way of life. It is now common practice in Europe to measure progress against poverty in terms of low income, material deprivation rates and some combination of both. This makes material deprivation indicators, and their selection, highly significant in its own right. The ‘consensual poverty’ approach is to identify deprivation items which a majority of the population agree constitute life’s basic necessities, accepting that these items will need revised over time to reflect social change. Traditionally, this has been carried out in the UK through specialised poverty surveys using a Sort Card (SC) technique. Based on analysis of a 2012 omnibus survey, and discussions with three interviewers, this article examines how perception of necessities is affected by mode of administration—SC and Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). More CAPI respondents scored deprivation items necessary. Greatest disparities are in material items where 25 out of 32 items were significantly higher via CAPI. Closer agreement is found in social participation with 3 out of 14 activities significantly different. Consensus is higher on children’s material deprivation. We consider influencing variables which could account for the disparities and believe that the SC method produces a more considered response. However, in light of technological advances, we question how long the SC method will remain socially acceptable. This paper concludes that the CAPI method can be easily modified without compromising the benefits of the SC method in capturing thoughtful responses.
- Socially perceived necessities
- Social exclusion
- Sort Card
- Mode of administration