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Abstract

New poverty paradigm considers the reasons for deprivation of
female headed households: gender and lack of access to resources. This paradigm conveys the urgency and need for raising the question of "whether female headed households are the poorest of the poor?" The goal of this paper is to examine whether this generalization holds true in the case of Iran. Available national macro statistics on an absolute poverty and relative poverty in the period of 1370-1380 (1991-2001) have been analyzed and examined for the purpose of this research. The main findings indicate that women are at increased risk of poverty and that the poverty rate of female headed households is higher than the poverty rate of male headed households, but the gap between the two groups has diminished. While the poverty rate of female headed households in urban areas has decreased, uneducated and low literate female headed households remain at high risk of poverty. Also, the study indicates that as the number of income earners in these families increase, the likelihood of poverty in the poorest segments of this population decreases. Female headed households of Iran, because oflow education levels, small families and fewer numbers of income earners within the family can be classified as the poorest groups living in poverty.

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