1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pauperism

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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.