Measuring material wealth in low-income settings: A conceptual and how-to guide

Bonnie N. Kaiser, Daniel Hruschka, Craig Hadley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although wealth is consistently found to be an important predictor of health and well-being, there remains debate as to the best way to conceptualize and operationalize wealth. In this article, we focus on the measurement of economic resources, which is one among many forms of wealth. We provide an overview of the process of measuring material wealth, including theoretical and conceptual considerations, a how-to guide based on the most common approach to measurement, and a review of important theoretical and empirical questions that remain to be resolved. Throughout, we emphasize considerations particular to the settings in which anthropologists work, and we include variations on common approaches to measuring material wealth that might be better suited to anthropologists' theoretical questions, methodological approaches, and fieldwork settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22987
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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