绝对贫困提出了贫困线的概念，即创造充分参与社会所需的最低生活水平(Sen, 2002)。从广义上说，绝对贫困是缺乏个人所需的基本需要，例如水、食物、住房、基本服装和卫生设施。但是，社会学家认为，这个定义没有考虑到这个国家和各个国家普遍存在的社会经济差异(Chen & Martin, 2007)。此外，还设立了一条贫穷线来衡量个人的饮食需求，以确保以最低成本获得足够的营养。这突出了消除贫困所需的生活水平。在1997年工党政府执政之前，在讨论英国的政策时很少使用“社会排斥”一词。贫困被用来描述该国公民缺乏资源或机会(John, 2005)。然而，一些政策制定者用贫穷这个词来描述低收入的状况;另一些人则认为，造成这种长期和严重状况的还有其他因素。因此，政府建议使用“社会排斥”作为一个包罗万象的术语。社会排斥本身是不言自明的，它突出了某些人与社会疏远的重要性及其所涉及的复杂性。
绝对贫困是指一种固定的标准，在一段时间内不会改变，而且在所有国家都是一样的。一个标准的例子是每天生活费低于X美元的个人。这意味着世界上任何地方的个人都不应低于这一最低收入标准。另一方面，相对贫困在不同的国家和一段时间内是不同的。相对贫困的一个标准例子是生活在英国平均收入不到X %的个人。在英国这样的富裕国家，标准随着国家的富裕而提高，任何人都不应该低于更高的标准。相对贫困和绝对贫困都是有效的概念，但显然，绝对贫困是一个更严重的问题(Edward, 2006)。在许多第三世界国家，情况就是这样，因为他们的重点是将收入门槛(大约每天1或2美元)作为生存的最低要求。但在英国，这样的门槛并不重要，因为几乎没有人生活在如此低的收入水平。因此，可以说英国要么没有绝对贫困，要么绝对贫困的门槛远远高于1或2美元。但是，还可以进一步指出，以什么理由来决定绝对贫困的阈值水平。
Absolute poverty brings forth the idea of the poverty line which is the creation of a minimum standard of living required to fully participate in the society (Sen, 2002). Broadly, absolute poverty is the lack of the basic needs required by an individual such as water, food, housing, basic clothing and sanitation facilities. But it is argued by the sociologists that this definition does not take into account the socio-economic differences prevailing in the country and across nations (Chen & Martin, 2007). Further, a poverty line was created to measure the dietary requirements of the individuals to ensure adequate level of nutrition at a minimum cost. This highlights the level of subsistence required to abolish poverty.The term social exclusion was very rarely used while discussing the policies in the United Kingdom, prior to the Labour Government of 1997. Poverty was used as term to describe the lack of resources or opportunities available to the citizens of the country (John, 2005). However, some policymakers used poverty as a term to describe the situation of low income;, others argued that there were other factors as well contributing to the chronic and severe situation. Thus, it was suggested by the government to use “Social Exclusion” as an all-encompassing term. Social exclusion in itself is self-explanatory and highlights the importance of alienation of certain people from the society and the complexities involved with it.
Absolute poverty is referred to a set standard which does not change over a period of time and is the same across all countries. A standard example would be individuals living on less than X dollars per day. This means that no individual anywhere in the world should fall below this minimum income standard. On the other hand, relative poverty differs between countries and over a period of time. A standard example of relative poverty would be individuals living on less than X percent of the average income in UK. In a rich country like UK, the standards rise as the country becomes richer and no one should fall below the higher standards. Both relative poverty and absolute poverty are valid concepts but clearly, absolute poverty is a more serious issue (Edward, 2006). In much of the third World, this is the case as their focus is on the threshold of income (around 1 or 2 dollar a day) as a minimum requirement for survival. But in UK, such thresholds do not hold much importance as hardly anyone lives on such low income level. Therefore, it can be said that either there is no absolute poverty in UK or the threshold level for absolute poverty is much higher than 1 or 2 dollars. But further it can be argued that, on what ground to decide the threshold level for absolute poverty.