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Pauperism (Lat. pauper, poor) is a term meaning poverty or generally the state of being poor, but in English usage particularly the condition of being a "pauper", i.e. in receipt of relief administered under the poor law. From this springs a more general sense, referring to all those who are supported at public expense, whether within or outside of almshouses, and still more generally, to all whose existence is dependent for any considerable period upon charitable assistance, whether this assistance be public or private. In this sense the word is to be distinguished from "poverty".

Under the poor laws, a person to be relieved must be a destitute person, and the moment he had been relieved he became a pauper, and as such incured certain civil disabilities. Statistics dealing with the state of pauperism in this sense convey not the amount of destitution actually prevalent, but the particulars of people in receipt of poor law relief.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PAUPERISM (Lat. pauper, poor), a term meaning generally the state of being poor, poverty; but in English usage particularly the condition of being a "pauper," i.e. in receipt of relief administered under the poor law. In this sense the word is to be distinguished from "poverty." A person to be relieved under the poor law must be a destitute person, and the moment he has been relieved he becomes a pauper, and as such incurs certain civil disabilities. Statistics dealing with the state of pauperism in this sense convey not the amount of destitution actually prevalent, but the particulars of people in receipt of poor law relief.


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