This paper examines several commonly used definitions of poverty. First, the paper proposes a definition based on the theory of welfare economics and contrasts it with other definitions that are often used in empirical studies. The paper then goes on to examine household survey data for the Cote d'Ivoire to see whether these different definitions choose the same people as poor. The general finnding is that they often do not choose the same people. This implies that different definitions of poverty will often lead to different policy recommendations. The paper then provides a general discussion of poverty reducing policies, and demonstrates the use of household survey data to formulate and evaluate specific policies.