Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, poverty refers to “[t]he state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. Poverty is said to exist when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs. In this context, the identification of poor people first requires a determination of what constitutes basic needs. These may be defined as narrowly as ‘those necessary for survival’ [this is considered a state of absolute poverty] or as broadly as ‘those reflecting the prevailing standard of living in the community [this is considered a state of relative poverty].’” In low and middle income countries it is the absolute level of poverty, expressed in per capita income or its purchasing power parity in US dollars (e.g., $2,15 per day, see World Bank 2023), which is used as an indicator of poverty. OECD countries and many high-income countries use a concept of relative poverty to define what or whom counts as a poor household or person. For example, if a household’s income is less than half the median income of a country, it is considered to be relatively poor.

Poverty statistics of the EU as well as academic studies of poverty among migrants (see, e.g., Eurostat 2022, European Anti-Poverty Network 2015, and Eroğlu 2022) show that discrimination against migrants and their unequal treatment in employment and access to and ownership of assets (e.g., land, capital, and housing) increase their risk of poverty and social exclusion, not only over the lifetime of migrants but also over that of their children. Urgent actions are needed to improve access to the labor market for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; the integration of these groups into the labor market needs to be facilitated not only through voluntary/civil society (‘third sector’) and organizations, but also through more direct actions by state organizations at national and local levels (Bontenbal et al. 2023, Calò et al. 2022).

⇢ see also Politics of mobility, Vulnerability

References and further reading:

Bontenbal , Ilona, Francesca Calò, Tom Montgomery, and Simone Baglioni. 2023. “Rethinking the Role of Volunteering in the Labor Market Inclusion of Migrants.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 0: 1–20. DOI:

Calò, Francesca, Tom Montgomery, and Simone Baglioni. 2022. “Marginal Players? The Third Sector and Employability Services for Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK.” Voluntas 33: 872–885. DOI:

Eroğlu, Şebnem. 2022. Poverty and International Migration: A Multi-Site and Intergenerational Perspective. Bristol: Bristol University Press.

European Anti-Poverty Network. 2015. “Migrants in Europe’s Age of Austerity.” Brussels. [Report of the EAPN Task Force on Migration.] URL:​EAPN-2015-EAPN-migration-report-899.pdf.

Eurostat. 2022. “Migrant Integration Statistics – At Risk of Poverty and Social Exclusion.” Eurostat. URL:​statistics_-_at_risk_of_poverty_and_social_exclusion.

OECD. 2014. “The Measure of Poverty.” OECD Insights. URL:

The World Bank Group. 2021. “Poverty.” The World Bank. URL:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8