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Professor David Gordon - University of Bristol. Bristol, , GB

Professor David Gordon Professor David Gordon

Professor of Social Justice and Director of the Poverty Institute | University of Bristol


Global leader on tackling poverty, social deprivation and social mobility

Areas of Expertise (8)

Climate Change and Poverty

Poverty Statistics


Social Deprivation


Poverty data

Social Mobility

Child Poverty


Professor David Gordon is a global specialist on how deprivation is measured. His metrics have been adopted by the EU and used in target-setting to reduce poverty across Europe and in other parts of the world including Africa. Internationally he has worked with the WHO and UNICEF. He has produced reports on issues such as the child-friendliness of governments across Africa, the levels of poverty outside of cities, malnutrition in India, health inequalities in Hong Kong and ending the Poor Law in Guernsey. He is currently exploring the links between climate change and poverty.

Professor Gordon has written and edited more than 200 books, papers and reports on issues of poverty and social justice. He was a member of the UN Expert Group on Poverty Statistics (Rio Group) and contributed to its Compendium of Best Practice in Poverty Measurement. He advises both the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat on poverty and hunger issues amongst young people.

Media Appearances (5)

Why academics across the UK are refusing to let Boris Johnson’s inaction on child poverty slide

The Independent  online


Marcus Rashford’s calls for free meal vouchers to be extended into the school holidays led to a welcome government U-turn. But as Rashford points out, tackling child poverty requires much greater policy effort than this.

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‘Coronavirus means it’s never been more important to deal with the scandal of killer cold homes in Bristol’

The Bristol Cable  online


“Basically it means older and vulnerable people are dying younger than they otherwise would” explains David Gordon, a professor of social justice at the University of Bristol.

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Coronavirus forgotten victims: Twice as many deaths in UK’s poorest areas

Express  online


Professor Dave Gordon, of the Bristol Poverty Institute and the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, said there were many reasons why people in deprived areas faced greater risk.

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Why Brexit means Britain needs a written constitution

The Times  online


The UK is one of just five countries in the world without a written constitution. Amidst heated debates over public services, threats to workers’ rights, and a documented rise in hate crimes, equal rights are undeniably at risk. Against this backdrop and with Brexit looming, the time has come for a UK constitution that safeguards the rights of all.

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U.N.’s Expert on ‘Extreme Poverty’ Is Investigating Britain. Why?

New York Times  online


“There’s an oddity to this, obviously,” said David Gordon, director of the Townsend Center for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, who met Mr. Alston on the second day of his tour. “When you think of the special rapporteurs on extreme poverty and human rights, you expect them to be visiting sub-Saharan Africa or Haiti. You don’t expect them to be visiting the U.K.”

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Articles (5)

Housing affordability effects on physical and mental health: household survey in a population with the world’s greatest housing affordability stress

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

2020 We examined the association of housing affordability with physical and mental health in Hong Kong, where there is a lack of related research despite having the worst housing affordability problem in the world, considering potential mediating effect of deprivation.

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The Importance of Reliability and Construct Validity in Multidimensional Poverty Measurement: An Illustration Using the Multidimensional Poverty Index for Latin America (MPI-LA)

The Journal of Development Studies

2019 The empirical properties of a multidimensional poverty index require robust assessment. However, poverty research is yet to systematically implement measurement theories and practices that have been proven to be successful in other fields. Measurement theory has been developed over more than 100 years to produce indexes that are scientific (falsifiable) in that researchers put under scrutiny whether their value judgements and assumptions result in scales that have high internal consistency (reliability) and capture the phenomenon they aim to measure (validity).

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Measuring Multidimensional Child Poverty in the Era of the Sustainable Development Goals

Child Indicators Research

2018 The new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed to by governments of the world in 2015, present an unprecedented opportunity for social progress for the new generation of children and young people (UNICEF and Global Coalition to End Child Poverty 2017). Goal 1 calls for “reducing at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions” (Target 1.2) by 2030 (United Nations 2015).

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Towards an EU measure of child deprivation

Child Indicators Research

2018 This paper proposes a new measure of child material and social deprivation (MSD) in the European Union (EU) which includes age appropriate child-specific information available from the thematic deprivation modules included in the 2009 and 2014 waves of the “EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions” (EU-SILC).

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Deprivation is associated with worse physical and mental health beyond income poverty: a population-based household survey among Chinese adults

Quality of Life Research

2018 In studying health inequality, poverty as measured by income is frequently used; however, this omits the aspects of non-monetary resources and social barriers to achieving improved living standard. Therefore, our study aimed to examine the associations of individual-level deprivation of material and social necessities with general physical and mental health beyond that of income poverty.

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