Poverty is the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of
material possessions or money.
Poverty is a multifaceted concept,
which may include social, economic, and political elements. Absolute
poverty, extreme poverty, or destitution refers to the complete lack
of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food,
clothing and shelter.
The threshold at which absolute poverty is defined is considered to be
about the same, independent of the person's permanent location or era.
On the other hand, relative poverty occurs when a person who lives in
a given country does not enjoy a certain minimum level of "living
standards" as compared to the rest of the population of that country.
Therefore, the threshold at which relative poverty is defined varies
from country to another, or from one society to another.
Providing basic needs can be restricted by constraints on government's
ability to deliver services, such as corruption, tax avoidance, debt
and loan conditionalities and by the brain drain of health care and
educational professionals. Strategies of increasing income to make
basic needs more affordable typically include welfare, economic
freedoms and providing financial services.
Poverty reduction is still a major issue (or a target) for many
international organizations such as the
United Nations and the World
1 Global prevalence
3 Measuring poverty
3.2 Absolute poverty
3.3 Relative poverty
3.4 Other aspects
4.2.1 Efforts to end hunger and undernutrition
4.6.1 Water and sanitation
5.1 Increasing the supply of basic needs
Food and other goods
Health care and education
5.1.3 Removing constraints on government services
5.1.4 Reversing brain drain
5.1.5 Controlling overpopulation
5.2 Increasing personal income
5.2.1 Income grants
5.2.3 Financial services
6 Wealth concentration
7 Business solutions to poverty
7.1 Serving the poor market
7.2 Creating entrepreneurs
7.3 Criticisms of this approach
8 Environmental issues
9 Voluntary poverty
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
A poor boy sitting in the streets of Mumbai.
World Bank forecasted in 2015 that 702.1 million people were
living in extreme poverty, down from 1.75 billion in 1990. Of the
2015 population, about 347.1 million people (35.2%) lived in
Sub-Saharan Africa and 231.3 million (13.5%) lived in South Asia.
According to the World Bank, between 1990 and 2015, the percentage of
the world's population living in extreme poverty fell from 37.1% to
9.6%, falling below 10% for the first time.
In 2012 it was estimated that, using a poverty line of $1.25 a day,
1.2 billion people lived in poverty. Given the current economic
model, built on GDP, it would take 100 years to bring the world's
poorest up to the poverty line of $1.25 a day.
Extreme poverty is a global challenge; it is observed in all parts of
the world, including developed economies.
UNICEF estimates half
the world's children (or 1.1 billion) live in poverty. It has been
argued by some academics that the neoliberal policies promoted by
global financial institutions such as the IMF and the
World Bank are
actually exacerbating both inequality and poverty.
Another estimate places the true scale of poverty much higher than the
World Bank, with an estimated 4.3 billion people (59% of the world's
population) living with less than $5 a day and unable to meet basic
Poverty is the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of
material possessions or money.
The word poverty comes from old French poverté (Modern French:
pauvreté), from Latin paupertās from pauper (poor).
The English word "poverty" via Anglo-Norman povert.
There are several definitions of poverty depending on the context of
the situation it is placed in, and the views of the person giving the
See also: List of countries by percentage of population living in
Percentage of population living on less than $1.25 per day, per UN
data from 2000–2006.
Income Poverty: a family's income fails to meet a federally
established threshold that differs across countries.
Percentage of population suffering from hunger, World
Life expectancy, 2008.
The Human Development Index, 2016
The Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, 2014.
United Nations: Fundamentally, poverty is the inability of having
choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack
of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not
having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or
clinic to go to, not having the land on which to grow one's food or a
job to earn one's living, not having access to credit. It means
insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and
communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies
living in marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean
water or sanitation.
Poverty is pronounced deprivation in well-being, and
comprises many dimensions. It includes low incomes and the inability
to acquire the basic goods and services necessary for survival with
Poverty also encompasses low levels of health and education,
poor access to clean water and sanitation, inadequate physical
security, lack of voice, and insufficient capacity and opportunity to
better one's life.
Poverty is usually measured as either absolute or relative (the latter
being actually an index of income inequality).
In the United Kingdom, the second Cameron ministry came under attack
for their redefinition of poverty; poverty is no longer classified by
a family's income, but as to whether a family is in work or not.
Considering that two-thirds of people who found work were accepting
wages that are below the living wage (according to the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation) this has been criticised by anti-poverty campaigners
as an unrealistic view of poverty in the United Kingdom.
See also: Extreme poverty
Absolute poverty refers to a set standard which is consistent over
time and between countries. First introduced in 1990, the dollar a day
poverty line measured absolute poverty by the standards of the world's
poorest countries. The
World Bank defined the new international
poverty line as $1.25 a day in 2008 for 2005 (equivalent to $1.00 a
day in 1996 US prices). In October 2015, they reset it to
$1.90 a day.
Absolute poverty, extreme poverty, or abject poverty is "a condition
characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including
food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter,
education and information. It depends not only on income but also on
access to services." The term 'absolute poverty', when used in
this fashion, is usually synonymous with 'extreme poverty': Robert
McNamara, the former president of the World Bank, described absolute
or extreme poverty as, "a condition so limited by malnutrition,
illiteracy, disease, squalid surroundings, high infant mortality, and
low life expectancy as to be beneath any reasonable definition of
human decency."[notes 1] Australia is one of the world's
wealthier nations. In his article published in Australian Policy
Online, Robert Tanton notes that, "While this amount is appropriate
for third world countries, in Australia, the amount required to meet
these basic needs will naturally be much higher because prices of
these basic necessities are higher."
However, as the amount of wealth required for survival is not the same
in all places and time periods, particularly in highly developed
countries where few people would fall below the
World Bank Group's
poverty lines, countries often develop their own national poverty
An absolute poverty line was calculated in Australia for the Henderson
poverty inquiry in 1973. It was $62.70 a week, which was the
disposable income required to support the basic needs of a family of
two adults and two dependent children at the time. This poverty line
has been updated regularly by the Melbourne Institute according to
increases in average incomes; for a single employed person it was
$391.85 per week (including housing costs) in March 2009. In
OECD poverty would equate to a "disposable income of
less than $358 per week for a single adult (higher for larger
households to take account of their greater costs). in 2015
Australia implemented the
Individual Deprivation Measure which address
gender disparities in poverty.
See also: Purchasing power
For a few years starting 1990, the
World Bank anchored absolute
poverty line as $1 per day. This was revised in 1993, and through
2005, absolute poverty was $1.08 a day for all countries on a
purchasing power parity basis, after adjusting for inflation to the
1993 U.S. dollar. In 2005, after extensive studies of cost of living
across the world, The
World Bank raised the measure for global poverty
line to reflect the observed higher cost of living. In 2015, the
World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$1.90
(PPP) per day, and moderate poverty as less than $2
or $5 a day (but note that a person or family with access to
subsistence resources, e.g., subsistence farmers, may have a low cash
income without a correspondingly low standard of living – they are
not living "on" their cash income but using it as a top up). It
estimated that "in 2001, 1.1 billion people had consumption levels
below $1 a day and 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day." A
'dollar a day', in nations that do not use the U.S. dollar as
currency, does not translate to living a day on the equivalent amount
of local currency as determined by the exchange rate. Rather, it
is determined by the purchasing power parity rate, which would look at
how much local currency is needed to buy the same things that a dollar
could buy in the United States. Usually, this would translate to
less local currency than the exchange rate in poorer countries as the
United States is a relatively more expensive country.
Children of the Depression-era migrant workers, Arizona, 1937
The poverty line threshold of $1.90 per day, as set by the World Bank,
is controversial. Each nation has its own threshold for absolute
poverty line; in the United States, for example, the absolute poverty
line was US$15.15 per day in 2010 (US$22,000 per year for a family of
four), while in
India it was US$1.0 per day and in
absolute poverty line was US$0.55 per day, each on PPP basis in
2010. These different poverty lines make data comparison between
each nation's official reports qualitatively difficult. Some scholars
argue that the
World Bank method sets the bar too high, others argue
it is low. Still others suggest that poverty line misleads as it
measures everyone below the poverty line the same, when in reality
someone living on $1.20 per day is in a different state of poverty
than someone living on $0.20 per day. In other words, the depth and
intensity of poverty varies across the world and in any regional
populations, and $1.25 per day poverty line and head counts are
The share of the world's population living in absolute poverty fell
from 43% in 1981 to 14% in 2011. The absolute number of people in
poverty fell from 1.95 billion in 1981 to 1.01 billion in 2011.
Max Roser estimates that the number of people in poverty
is therefore roughly the same as 200 years ago. This is the case
since the world population was just little more than 1 billion in 1820
and the majority (84% to 94%) of the world population was living
poverty. The proportion of the developing world's population living in
extreme economic poverty fell from 28 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in
2001. Most of this improvement has occurred in East and South
East Asia the
World Bank reported that "The poverty
headcount rate at the $2-a-day level is estimated to have fallen to
about 27 percent [in 2007], down from 29.5 percent in 2006 and 69
percent in 1990." In
Sub-Saharan Africa extreme poverty went up
from 41 percent in 1981 to 46 percent in 2001, which combined with
growing population increased the number of people living in extreme
poverty from 231 million to 318 million.
In the early 1990s some of the transition economies of Central and
Eastern Europe and Central Asia experienced a sharp drop in
income. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in large
declines in GDP per capita, of about 30 to 35% between 1990 and the
trough year of 1998 (when it was at its minimum). As a result, poverty
rates also increased although in subsequent years as per capita
incomes recovered the poverty rate dropped from 31.4% of the
population to 19.6%.
World Bank data shows that the percentage of the population living in
households with consumption or income per person below the poverty
line has decreased in each region of the world since 1990:
$1 per day
$1.25 per day
East Asia and Pacific
Europe and Central Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
Life expectancy has been increasing and converging for most of the
Sub-Saharan Africa has recently seen a decline, partly related
to the AIDS epidemic. Graph shows the years 1950–2005.
According to Chen and Ravallion, about 1.76 billion people in
developing world lived above $1.25 per day and 1.9 billion people
lived below $1.25 per day in 1981. The world's population increased
over the next 25 years. In 2005, about 4.09 billion people in
developing world lived above $1.25 per day and 1.4 billion people
lived below $1.25 per day (both 1981 and 2005 data are on inflation
adjusted basis). Some scholars caution that these trends are
subject to various assumptions and not certain. Additionally, they
note that the poverty reduction is not uniform across the world;
economically prospering countries such as China,
India and Brazil have
made more progress in absolute poverty reduction than countries in
other regions of the world.
The absolute poverty measure trends noted above are supported by human
development indicators, which have also been improving. Life
expectancy has greatly increased in the developing world since World
War II and is starting to close the gap to the developed
Child mortality has decreased in every
developing region of the world. The proportion of the world's
population living in countries where per-capita food supplies are less
than 2,200 calories (9,200 kilojoules) per day decreased from 56% in
the mid-1960s to below 10% by the 1990s. Similar trends can be
observed for literacy, access to clean water and electricity and basic
See also: Relative deprivation
This graph shows the proportion of world population in extreme poverty
1981–2008 according to the World Bank.
Relative poverty views poverty as socially defined and dependent on
social context, hence relative poverty is a measure of income
inequality. Usually, relative poverty is measured as the percentage of
the population with income less than some fixed proportion of median
income. There are several other different income inequality metrics,
for example, the
Gini coefficient or the Theil Index.
Relative poverty is the "most useful measure for ascertaining poverty
rates in wealthy developed nations". Relative
poverty measure is used by the
United Nations Development Program
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Organisation
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Canadian poverty
researchers. In the European Union, the "relative
poverty measure is the most prominent and most–quoted of the EU
social inclusion indicators".
"Relative poverty reflects better the cost of social inclusion and
equality of opportunity in a specific time and space."
"Once economic development has progressed beyond a certain minimum
level, the rub of the poverty problem – from the point of view of
both the poor individual and of the societies in which they live –
is not so much the effects of poverty in any absolute form but the
effects of the contrast, daily perceived, between the lives of the
poor and the lives of those around them. For practical purposes, the
problem of poverty in the industrialized nations today is a problem of
relative poverty (page 9)."
Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations argued that poverty is the
inability to afford, "not only the commodities which are indispensably
necessary for the support of life but whatever the custom of the
country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest
order, to be without".
In 1958 J. K. Galbraith argued that "People are poverty stricken when
their income, even if adequate for survival, falls markedly behind
that of their community."
In 1964 in a joint committee economic President's report in the United
States, Republicans endorsed the concept of relative poverty. "No
objective definition of poverty exists... The definition varies from
place to place and time to time. In America as our standard of living
rises, so does our idea of what is substandard."
Rose Friedman argued for the use of relative poverty claiming
that the definition of poverty changes with general living standards.
Those labeled as poor in 1995 would have had "a higher standard of
living than many labeled not poor" in 1965.
In 1979, British sociologist, Peter Townsend published his famous
definition, "individuals ... can be said to be in poverty when they
lack the resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the
activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are
customary, or are at least widely encouraged or approved, in the
societies to which they belong (page 31)". This definition and
measurement of poverty was profoundly linked to the idea that poverty
and societal participation are deeply associated.
Peter Townsend transformed the conception of poverty, viewing it not
simply as lack of income but as the configuration of the economic
conditions that prevent people from being full members of the society
(Townsend, 1979; Ferragina et al. 2016).
Poverty reduces the
ability of people to participate in society, effectively denying them
full citizenship (as suggested by T.H. Marshall). Given that there are
no universal principles by which to determine the minimum threshold of
participation equating to full membership of society, Townsend argued
that the appropriate measure would necessarily be relative to any
particular cultural context. He suggested that in each society there
should be an empirically determinable 'breakpoint' within the income
distribution below which participation of individuals collapses,
providing a scientific basis for fixing a poverty line and determining
the extent of poverty (Ferragina et al. 2016).
Brian Nolan and Christopher T. Whelan of the
Economic and Social
Research Institute (ESRI) in Ireland explained that "
Poverty has to be
seen in terms of the standard of living of the society in
Relative poverty measures are used as official poverty rates by the
European Union, UNICEF, and the OEDC. The main poverty line used in
OECD and the
European Union is based on "economic distance", a
level of income set at 60% of the median household income.
Economic aspects of poverty focus on material needs, typically
including the necessities of daily living, such as food, clothing,
shelter, or safe drinking water.
Poverty in this sense may be
understood as a condition in which a person or community is lacking in
the basic needs for a minimum standard of well-being and life,
particularly as a result of a persistent lack of income. The increase
in poverty runs parallel sides with unemployment, hunger, and higher
Analysis of social aspects of poverty links conditions of scarcity to
aspects of the distribution of resources and power in a society and
recognizes that poverty may be a function of the diminished
"capability" of people to live the kinds of lives they value. The
social aspects of poverty may include lack of access to information,
education, health care, social capital or political power.
Poverty levels are snapshot pictures in time that omits the
transitional dynamics between levels. Mobility statistics supply
additional information about the fraction who leave the poverty level.
For example, one study finds that in a sixteen-year period (1975 to
1991 in the U.S.) only 5% of those in the lower fifth of the income
level were still at that level, while 95% transitioned to a higher
Poverty levels can remain the same while those
who rise out of poverty are replaced by others. The transient poor and
chronic poor differ in each society. In a nine-year period ending in
2005 for the U.S., 50% of the poorest quintile transitioned to a
Poverty may also be understood as an aspect of unequal social status
and inequitable social relationships, experienced as social exclusion,
dependency, and diminished capacity to participate, or to develop
meaningful connections with other people in society. Such
social exclusion can be minimized through strengthened connections
with the mainstream, such as through the provision of relational care
to those who are experiencing poverty.
An early morning outside the Opera Tavern in Stockholm, with a gang of
beggars waiting for delivery of the scraps from the previous day.
The World Bank's "Voices of the Poor," based on research with over
20,000 poor people in 23 countries, identifies a range of factors
which poor people identify as part of poverty. These include:
Abuse by those in power
Lack of security
Problems in social relationships
Weak community organizations
David Moore, in his book The World Bank, argues that some analysis of
poverty reflect pejorative, sometimes racial, stereotypes of
impoverished people as powerless victims and passive recipients of aid
Ultra-poverty, a term apparently coined by Michael Lipton,
connotes being amongst poorest of the poor in low-income countries.
Lipton defined ultra-poverty as receiving less than 80 percent of
minimum caloric intake whilst spending more than 80% of income on
food. Alternatively a 2007 report issued by International
Research Institute defined ultra-poverty as living on less than 54
cents per day.
Asset poverty is an economic and social condition that is more
persistent and prevalent than income poverty. It can be defined as
a household's inability to access wealth resources that are enough to
provide for basic needs for a period of three months. Basic needs
refer to the minimum standards for consumption and acceptable
needs.Wealth resources consist of home ownership, other real estate
(second home, rented properties, etc.), net value of farm and business
assets, stocks, checking and savings accounts, and other savings
(money in savings bonds, life insurance policy cash values,
etc.).Wealth is measured in three forms: net worth, net worth minus
home equity, and liquid assets. Net worth consists of all the aspects
mentioned above. Net worth minus home equity is the same except it
does not include home ownership in asset calculations. Liquid assets
are resources that are readily available such as cash, checking and
savings accounts, stocks, and other sources of savings. There are two
types of assets: tangible and intangible. Tangible assets most closely
resemble liquid assets in that they include stocks, bonds, property,
natural resources, and hard assets not in the form of real estate.
Intangible assets are simply the access to credit, social capital,
cultural capital, political capital, and human capital.
The effects of poverty may also be causes as listed above, thus
creating a "poverty cycle" operating across multiple levels,
individual, local, national and global.
Diseases of poverty and
Disability and poverty
A Somali boy receiving treatment for malnourishment at a health
One third of deaths – some 18 million people a year or 50,000 per
day – are due to poverty-related causes. People of color, women and
children, are over represented among the global poor and these effects
of severe poverty. Those living in poverty suffer
disproportionately from hunger or even starvation and disease.
Those living in poverty suffer lower life expectancy. According to
the World Health Organization, hunger and malnutrition are the single
gravest threats to the world's public health and malnutrition is by
far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all
Almost 90% of maternal deaths during childbirth occur in Asia and
sub-Saharan Africa, compared to less than 1% in the developed
world. Those who live in poverty have also been shown to have a
far greater likelihood of having or incurring a disability within
Infectious diseases such as malaria and
tuberculosis can perpetuate poverty by diverting health and economic
resources from investment and productivity; malaria decreases GDP
growth by up to 1.3% in some developing nations and AIDS decreases
African growth by 0.3–1.5% annually.
A pair of studies of the influence of poverty on the ability to reason
about complicated issues requiring an immediate solution found that
poverty directly impedes cognitive function. Financial worries appear
to put a severe burden on one's mental resources so that they are no
longer fully available for solving complicated problems. The reduced
capability for problem solving can lead to suboptimal decisions and
further perpetuate poverty.
Infectious diseases continue to blight the lives of the poor across
the world. An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS,
with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350–500 million
cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities: Africa accounts for 90
percent of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80
percent of malaria victims worldwide.
Main article: Hunger
See also: Malnutrition
A poor woman in India.
Rises in the costs of living make poor people less able to afford
items. Poor people spend a greater portion of their budgets on food
than wealthy people. As a result, poor households and those near the
poverty threshold can be particularly vulnerable to increases in food
prices. For example, in late 2007 increases in the price of grains
led to food riots in some countries. The
World Bank warned
that 100 million people were at risk of sinking deeper into
poverty. Threats to the supply of food may also be caused by
drought and the water crisis.
Intensive farming often leads to a
vicious cycle of exhaustion of soil fertility and decline of
agricultural yields. Approximately 40% of the world's
agricultural land is seriously degraded. In Africa, if
current trends of soil degradation continue, the continent might be
able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025, according to United
Nations University's Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in
Africa. Every year nearly 11 million children living in poverty
die before their fifth birthday. 1.02 billion people go to bed hungry
According to the Global
Sub-Saharan Africa had the
highest child malnutrition rate of the world's regions over the
Efforts to end hunger and undernutrition
A Venezuelan eating from garbage during the crisis in Bolivarian
As part of the
Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals the global community has
made the elimination of hunger and undernutrition a priority for the
coming years. While the Goal 2 of the SDGs aims to reach this goal by
2030 a number of initiatives aim to achieve the goal 5 years
earlier, by 2025:
The partnership Compact2025, led by IFPRI with the involvement of UN
organisations, NGOs and private foundations develops and
disseminates evidence-based advice to politicians and other
decision-makers aimed at ending hunger and undernutrition in the
coming 10 years, by 2025. It bases its claim that hunger can be
ended by 2025 on a report by
Shenggen Fan and
Paul Polman that
analyzed the experiences from China, Vietnam, Brazil and
European Union and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have
launched a partnership to combat Undernutrition in June 2015. The
program will initiatilly be implemented in Bangladesh, Burundi,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos and Niger and will help these countries to
improve information and analysis about nutrition so they can develop
effective national nutrition policies.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has created a
partnership that will act through the African Union's CAADP framework
aiming to end hunger in Africa by 2025. It includes different
interventions including support for improved food production, a
strengthening of social protection and integration of the right to
food into national legislation.
See also: Impact of health on intelligence,
Social determinants of
health in poverty § Education, and
Disability and poverty
Research has found that there is a high risk of educational
underachievement for children who are from low-income housing
circumstances. This is often a process that begins in primary school
for some less fortunate children. Instruction in the US educational
system, as well as in most other countries, tends to be geared towards
those students who come from more advantaged backgrounds. As a result,
children in poverty are at a higher risk than advantaged children for
retention in their grade, special deleterious placements during the
school's hours and even not completing their high school
education. Advantage breeds advantage. There are indeed many
explanations for why students tend to drop out of school. One is the
conditions of which they attend school. Schools in poverty-stricken
areas have conditions that hinder children from learning in a safe
environment. Researchers have developed a name for areas like this: an
urban war zone is a poor, crime-laden district in which deteriorated,
violent, even war-like conditions and underfunded, largely ineffective
schools promote inferior academic performance, including irregular
attendance and disruptive or non-compliant classroom behavior.
Because of poverty, "Students from low-income families are 2.4 times
more likely to drop out than middle-income kids, and over 10 times
more likely than high-income peers to drop out"
For children with low resources, the risk factors are similar to
others such as juvenile delinquency rates, higher levels of teenage
pregnancy, and the economic dependency upon their low-income parent or
parents. Families and society who submit low levels of investment
in the education and development of less fortunate children end up
with less favorable results for the children who see a life of
parental employment reduction and low wages. Higher rates of early
childbearing with all the connected risks to family, health and
well-being are major important issues to address since education from
preschool to high school are both identifiably meaningful in a
Poverty often drastically affects children's success in school. A
child's "home activities, preferences, mannerisms" must align with the
world and in the cases that they do not do these, students are at a
disadvantage in the school and, most importantly, the classroom.
Therefore, it is safe to state that children who live at or below the
poverty level will have far less success educationally than children
who live above the poverty line. Poor children have a great deal less
healthcare and this ultimately results in many absences from the
academic year. Additionally, poor children are much more likely to
suffer from hunger, fatigue, irritability, headaches, ear infections,
flu, and colds. These illnesses could potentially restrict a
child or student's focus and concentration.
For a child to grow up emotionally healthy, the children under three
need "A strong, reliable primary caregiver who provides consistent and
unconditional love, guidance, and support. Safe, predictable, stable
environments. Ten to 20 hours each week of harmonious, reciprocal
interactions. This process, known as attunement, is most crucial
during the first 6–24 months of infants' lives and helps them
develop a wider range of healthy emotions, including gratitude,
forgiveness, and empathy. Enrichment through personalized,
increasingly complex activities".
Harmful spending habits mean that the poor typically spend about 2
percent of their income educating their children but larger
percentages of alcohol and tobacco (For example, 6 percent in
Indonesia and 8 percent in Mexico).
Participation (decision making)
Participation (decision making) and
Poverty has been also considered a real social phenomenon reflecting
more the consequences of a lack of income than the lack of income per
se (Ferragina et al. 2016). According to Townsend: humans are
social animals entangled in a web of relationships, which exert
complex and changing pressures, as much in their consumption of goods
and services as in any other aspect of their behaviour (Townsend
1979). This idea has received theoretical support from scholars
and extensive testimony from people experiencing poverty across the
globe (Walker 2014). Participation and consumption have become
ever more crucial mechanisms through which people establish and
communicate their identity and position in society, increasing the
premium attached to resources needed to participate (Giddens
1991). In addition, the concept of social exclusion has been
added to the lexicon of poverty related terms, describing the process
by which people, especially those on low incomes, can become socially
and politically detached from mainstream society and its associated
resources and opportunities (Cantillon 1997). Equally western
society have become more complex with ethnic diversity,
multi-culturalism and life-style choices raising the possibility that
a single concept of poverty as conceived in the past might no longer
apply (Ferragina et al. 2016).
Street child in Bangladesh. Aiding relatives financially unable to but
willing to take in orphans is found to be more effective by cost and
welfare than orphanages.
See also: Slums, Street children, and Orphanages
Poverty increases the risk of homelessness. Slum-dwellers, who
make up a third of the world's urban population, live in a poverty no
better, if not worse, than rural people, who are the traditional focus
of the poverty in the developing world, according to a report by the
There are over 100 million street children worldwide. Most of the
children living in institutions around the world have a surviving
parent or close relative, and they most commonly entered orphanages
because of poverty. It is speculated that, flush with money,
orphanages are increasing and push for children to join even though
demographic data show that even the poorest extended families usually
take in children whose parents have died. Experts and child
advocates maintain that orphanages are expensive and often harm
children's development by separating them from their families and that
it would be more effective and cheaper to aid close relatives who want
to take in the orphans.
Affordable household toilets near Jaipur, Rajasthan
Water and sanitation
As of 2012, 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation services and
15% practice open defecation. Water utility subsidies tend to
subsidize water consumption by those connected to the supply grid,
which is typically skewed towards the richer and urban segment of the
population and those outside informal housing. As a result of heavy
consumption subsidies, the price of water decreases to the extent that
only 30%, on average, of the supplying costs in developing countries
is covered. This results in a lack of incentive to maintain
delivery systems, leading to losses from leaks annually that are
enough for 200 million people. This also leads to a lack of
incentive to invest in expanding the network, resulting in much of the
poor population being unconnected to the network. Instead, the poor
buy water from water vendors for, on average, about five to 16 times
the metered price. However, subsidies for laying new
connections to the network rather than for consumption have shown more
promise for the poor.
The urban poor buy water from water vendors for, on average, about
five to 16 times the metered price.
Similarly, the poorest fifth receive 0.1% of the world's lighting but
pay a fifth of total spending on light, accounting for 25 to 30
percent of their income. Indoor air pollution from burning fuels
kills 2 million, with almost half the deaths from pneumonia in
children under 5. Fuel from Bamboo burns more cleanly and also
matures much faster than wood, thus also reducing deforestation.
Additionally, using solar panels is promoted as being cheaper over the
products' lifetime even if upfront costs are higher. Thus,
payment schemes such as lend-to-own programs are promoted and up to
14% of Kenyan households use solar as their primary energy
Slavery and Human trafficking
According to experts, many women become victims of trafficking, the
most common form of which is prostitution, as a means of survival and
economic desperation. Deterioration of living conditions can
often compel children to abandon school to contribute to the family
income, putting them at risk of being exploited. For example, in
Zimbabwe, a number of girls are turning to sex in return for food to
survive because of the increasing poverty. According to studies,
as poverty decreases there will be fewer and fewer instances of
In one survey, 67% of children from disadvantaged inner cities said
they had witnessed a serious assault, and 33% reported witnessing a
homicide. 51% of fifth graders from
New Orleans (median income
for a household: $27,133) have been found to be victims of violence,
compared to 32% in Washington, DC (mean income for a household:
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April
Max Weber and some schools of modernization theory suggest that
cultural values could affect economic success. However,
researchers[who?] have gathered evidence that suggest that values are
not as deeply ingrained and that changing economic opportunities
explain most of the movement into and out of poverty, as opposed to
shifts in values. Studies have shown that poverty changes the
personalities of children who live in it. The Great Smoky Mountains
Study was a ten-year study that was able to demonstrate this. During
the study, about one-quarter of the families saw a dramatic and
unexpected increase in income. The study showed that among these
children, instances of behavioral and emotional disorders decreased,
and conscientiousness and agreeableness increased.
Cultural factors, such as discrimination of various kinds, can
negatively affect productivity such as age discrimination,
stereotyping, discrimination against people with physical
disability, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and
caste discrimination. Women are the group suffering from the highest
rate of poverty after children; 14.5% of women and 22% of children are
poor in the United States. In addition, the fact that women are more
likely to be caregivers, regardless of income level, to either the
generations before or after them, exacerbates the burdens of their
poverty. Marking the International Day for the Eradication of
Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty
Philip Alston warned in a statement that, “The world’s poor are at
disproportionate risk of torture, arrest, early death and domestic
violence, but their civil and political rights are being airbrushed
out of the picture.” … people in lower socio-economic classes are
much more likely to get killed, tortured or experience an invasion of
their privacy, and are far less likely to realize their right to vote,
or otherwise participate in the political process.”
Aid and Development aid
Various poverty reduction strategies are broadly categorized here
based on whether they make more of the basic human needs available or
whether they increase the disposable income needed to purchase those
needs. Some strategies such as building roads can both bring access to
various basic needs, such as fertilizer or healthcare from urban
areas, as well as increase incomes, by bringing better access to urban
Increasing the supply of basic needs
Food and other goods
Spreading fertilizer on a field of
Rapeseed near Barton-upon-Humber,
Agricultural technologies such as nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides,
new seed varieties and new irrigation methods have dramatically
reduced food shortages in modern times by boosting yields past
Before the Industrial Revolution, poverty had been mostly accepted as
inevitable as economies produced little, making wealth scarce.
Geoffrey Parker wrote that "In
Antwerp and Lyon, two of the largest
cities in western Europe, by 1600 three-quarters of the total
population were too poor to pay taxes, and therefore likely to need
relief in times of crisis." The initial industrial revolution led
to high economic growth and eliminated mass absolute poverty in what
is now considered the developed world.
Mass production of goods
in places such as rapidly industrializing
China has made what were
once considered luxuries, such as vehicles and computers, inexpensive
and thus accessible to many who were otherwise too poor to afford
Even with new products, such as better seeds, or greater volumes of
them, such as industrial production, the poor still require access to
these products. Improving road and transportation infrastructure helps
solve this major bottleneck. In Africa, it costs more to move
fertilizer from an African seaport 60 miles inland than to ship it
from the United States to Africa because of sparse, low-quality roads,
leading to fertilizer costs two to six times the world average.
Microfranchising models such as door to door distributors who earn
commission-based income or Coca-Cola's successful distribution
system are used to disseminate basic needs to remote areas
for below market prices.
Health care and education
Hardwood surgical tables are commonplace in rural Nigerian clinics.
Health care system and Primary education
Nations do not necessarily need wealth to gain health. For
Sri Lanka had a maternal mortality rate of 2% in the 1930s,
higher than any nation today. It reduced it to 0.5–0.6% in the
1950s and to 0.6% today while spending less each year on maternal
health because it learned what worked and what did not. Knowledge
on the cost effectiveness of healthcare interventions can be elusive
and educational measures have been made to disseminate what works,
such as the Copenhagen Consensus. Cheap water filters and
promoting hand washing are some of the most cost effective health
interventions and can cut deaths from diarrhea and
Strategies to provide education cost effectively include deworming
children, which costs about 50 cents per child per year and reduces
non-attendance from anemia, illness and malnutrition, while being only
a twenty-fifth as expensive as increasing school attendance by
constructing schools. Schoolgirl absenteeism could be cut in half
by simply providing free sanitary towels. Fortification with
micronutrients was ranked the most cost effective aid strategy by the
Copenhagen Consensus. For example, iodised salt costs 2 to 3
cents per person a year while even moderate iodine deficiency in
pregnancy shaves off 10 to 15 IQ points. Paying for school meals
is argued to be an efficient strategy in increasing school enrollment,
reducing absenteeism and increasing student attention.
Desirable actions such as enrolling children in school or receiving
vaccinations can be encouraged by a form of aid known as conditional
cash transfers. In Mexico, for example, dropout rates of 16- to
19-year-olds in rural area dropped by 20% and children gained half an
inch in height. Initial fears that the program would encourage
families to stay at home rather than work to collect benefits have
proven to be unfounded. Instead, there is less excuse for neglectful
behavior as, for example, children stopped begging on the streets
instead of going to school because it could result in suspension from
Removing constraints on government services
Political corruption, Tax havens, Transfer mispricing,
Developing countries' debt, and Conditionality
Local citizens from the Jana bi Village wait their turn to gather
goods from the Sons of Iraq (Abna al-Iraq) in a military operation
conducted in Yusufiyah, Iraq.
Government revenue can be diverted away from basic services by
corruption. Funds from aid and natural resources are often
sent by government individuals for money laundering to overseas banks
which insist on bank secrecy, instead of spending on the poor. A
Global Witness report asked for more action from Western banks as they
have proved capable of stanching the flow of funds linked to
Illicit capital flight from the developing world is estimated at ten
times the size of aid it receives and twice the debt service it
pays, with one estimate that most of Africa would be developed if
the taxes owed were paid. About 60 per cent of illicit capital
flight from Africa is from transfer mispricing, where a subsidiary in
a developing nation sells to another subsidiary or shell company in a
tax haven at an artificially low price to pay less tax. An
African Union report estimates that about 30% of sub-Saharan Africa's
GDP has been moved to tax havens. Solutions include corporate
"country-by-country reporting" where corporations disclose activities
in each country and thereby prohibit the use of tax havens where no
effective economic activity occurs.
Developing countries' debt service to banks and governments from
richer countries can constrain government spending on the poor.
Zambia spent 40% of its total budget to repay foreign
debt, and only 7% for basic state services in 1997. One of the
proposed ways to help poor countries has been debt relief. Zambia
began offering services, such as free health care even while
overwhelming the health care infrastructure, because of savings that
resulted from a 2005 round of debt relief.
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as primary holders
of developing countries' debt, attach structural adjustment
conditionalities in return for loans which are generally geared toward
loan repayment with austerity measures such as the elimination of
state subsidies and the privatization of state services. For example,
World Bank presses poor nations to eliminate subsidies for
fertilizer even while many farmers cannot afford them at market
prices. In Malawi, almost five million of its 13 million people
used to need emergency food aid but after the government changed
policy and subsidies for fertilizer and seed were introduced, farmers
produced record-breaking corn harvests in 2006 and 2007 as Malawi
became a major food exporter. A major proportion of aid from
donor nations is tied, mandating that a receiving nation spend on
products and expertise originating only from the donor country.
US law requires food aid be spent on buying food at home, instead of
where the hungry live, and, as a result, half of what is spent is used
Distressed securities funds, also known as vulture funds, buy up the
debt of poor nations cheaply and then sue countries for the full value
of the debt plus interest which can be ten or 100 times what they
paid. They may pursue any companies which do business with their
target country to force them to pay to the fund instead.
Considerable resources are diverted on costly court cases. For
example, a court in
Jersey ordered Congo to pay an American speculator
$100 million in 2010. Now, the UK,
Isle of Man
Isle of Man and
banned such payments.
A family planning placard in Ethiopia. It shows some negative effects
of having too many children.
Reversing brain drain
Reverse brain drain and
Human capital flight
The loss of basic needs providers emigrating from impoverished
countries has a damaging effect. As of 2004, there were more
Ethiopia-trained doctors living in Chicago than in Ethiopia.
Proposals to mitigate the problem include compulsory government
service for graduates of public medical and nursing schools and
promoting medical tourism so that health care personal have more
incentive to practice in their home countries.
Main article: Human overpopulation
Some argue that overpopulation and lack of access to birth control
leads to population increase to exceed food production and other
resources. Better education for both men and women, and
more control of their lives, reduces population growth due to family
planning. According to
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), by
giving better education to men and women, they can earn money for
their lives and can help them to strengthen economic security.
Increasing personal income
The following are strategies used or proposed to increase personal
incomes among the poor. Raising farm incomes is described as the core
of the antipoverty effort as three-quarters of the poor today are
farmers. Estimates show that growth in the agricultural
productivity of small farmers is, on average, at least twice as
effective in benefiting the poorest half of a country's population as
growth generated in nonagricultural sectors.
Afghan girl begging in Kabul.
Main articles: Guaranteed minimum income,
Social security, and Welfare
A guaranteed minimum income ensures that every citizen will be able to
purchase a desired level of basic needs. A basic income (or negative
income tax) is a system of social security, that periodically provides
each citizen, rich or poor, with a sum of money that is sufficient to
live on. Studies of large cash-transfer programs in Ethiopia, Kenya,
Malawi show that the programs can be effective in increasing
consumption, schooling, and nutrition, whether they are tied to such
conditions or not. Proponents argue that a basic income
is more economically efficient than a minimum wage and unemployment
benefits, as the minimum wage effectively imposes a high marginal tax
on employers, causing losses in efficiency. In 1968, Paul Samuelson,
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith and another 1,200 economists signed a document
calling for the US Congress to introduce a system of income
guarantees. Winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, with often
diverse political convictions, who support a basic income include
Herbert A. Simon, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Solow, Milton
Friedman, Jan Tinbergen, James Tobin and
Income grants are argued to be vastly more efficient in extending
basic needs to the poor than subsidizing supplies whose effectiveness
in poverty alleviation is diluted by the non-poor who enjoy the same
subsidized prices. With cars and other appliances, the wealthiest
20% of Egypt uses about 93% of the country's fuel subsidies. In
some countries, fuel subsidies are a larger part of the budget than
health and education. A 2008 study concluded that the money
spent on in-kind transfers in
India in a year could lift all India's
poor out of poverty for that year if transferred directly. The
primary obstacle argued against direct cash transfers is the
impractically for poor countries of such large and direct transfers.
In practice, payments determined by complex iris scanning are used by
Democratic Republic of Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan, while
India is phasing out its fuel subsidies in favor of direct
transfers. Additionally, in aid models, the famine relief model
increasingly used by aid groups calls for giving cash or cash vouchers
to the hungry to pay local farmers instead of buying food from donor
countries, often required by law, as it wastes money on transport
Economic freedom and Red tape
Corruption often leads to many civil services being treated by
governments as employment agencies to loyal supporters and so it
could mean going through 20 procedures, paying $2,696 in fees and
waiting 82 business days to start a business, in Bolivia, while, in
Canada, it takes two days, two registration procedures, and $280 to do
the same. Such costly barriers favor big firms at the expense of
small enterprises, where most jobs are created. Often, businesses
have to bribe government officials even for routine activities, which
is, in effect, a tax on business. Noted reductions in poverty in
recent decades has occurred in
India mostly as a result of
the abandonment of collective farming in
China and the ending of the
central planning model known as the
License Raj in
World Bank concludes that governments and feudal elites extending
to the poor the right to the land that they live and use are 'the key
to reducing poverty' citing that land rights greatly increase poor
people's wealth, in some cases doubling it. Although approaches
World Bank said the key issues were security of tenure and
ensuring land transactions costs were low.
Greater access to markets brings more income to the poor. Road
infrastructure has a direct impact on poverty. Additionally,
migration from poorer countries resulted in $328 billion sent from
richer to poorer countries in 2010, more than double the $120 billion
in official aid flows from
OECD members. In 2011,
India got $52
billion from its diaspora, more than it took in foreign direct
Information and communication technologies for development
Information and communication technologies for development help to
Microfinance and Microcredit
Microloans, made famous by the Grameen Bank, is where small amounts of
money are loaned to farmers or villages, mostly women, who can then
obtain physical capital to increase their economic rewards. However,
microlending has been criticized for making hyperprofits off the poor
even from its founder, Muhammad Yunus, and in India, Arundhati
Roy asserts that some 250,000 debt-ridden farmers have been driven to
Those in poverty place overwhelming importance on having a safe place
to save money, much more so than receiving loans. Additionally, a
large part of microfinance loans are spent not on investments but on
products that would usually be paid by a checking or savings
account. Microsavings are designs to make savings products
available for the poor, who make small deposits. Mobile banking
utilizes the wide availability of mobile phones to address the problem
of the heavy regulation and costly maintenance of saving
accounts. This usually involves a network of agents of mostly
shopkeepers, instead of bank branches, would take deposits in cash and
translate these onto a virtual account on customers' phones. Cash
transfers can be done between phones and issued back in cash with a
small commission, making remittances safer.
Economic inequality and Wealth concentration
Poverty can also be reduced as an improved economic policy is
developed by the governing authorities to facilitate a more equitable
distribution of the nation's wealth.
Oxfam has called for an
international movement to end extreme wealth concentration as a
significant step towards ameliorating global poverty. The group stated
that the $240 billion added to the fortunes of the world's richest
billionaires in 2012 was enough to end extreme poverty four times
Oxfam argues that the "concentration of resources in the hands
of the top 1% depresses economic activity and makes life harder for
everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic
ladder." It has been reported that only 1% of the world
population controls 50% of the wealth today, and the other 99% is
having access to the remaining 50% only, and the gap has sharply
increased in the recent past.
José Antonio Ocampo, professor at Columbia University and former
finance minister of Colombia, and Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, former
Special Rapporteur on Extreme
Poverty and Human Rights, argue that
global tax reform is integral to human development and fighting
poverty, as corporate tax avoidance has disproportionately impacted
those mired in poverty, noting that "the human impact is devastatingly
real. When profits are shifted out, the tax revenues from those
profits that could be available to fund healthcare, schools, water
sanitation and other public goods vanish from the ledger, leaving
women and men, boys and girls without pathways to a better
Raghuram G. Rajan, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India,
former chief economist at the
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund and
professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of
Business has blamed the ever-widening gulf between the rich and the
poor especially in the USA to be one of the main Fault Lines which
caused the financial institutions to pump money into subprime
mortgages – on political behest, as a palliative and not a remedy,
for poverty – causing the financial crisis of 2007–2009. In
Rajan's view the main cause of increasing gap between the high income
and low income earners, was lack of equal access to high class
education for the latter.
Business solutions to poverty
See also: Bottom of the pyramid
A poor child walks with one sandal.
Serving the poor market
The concept of business serving the world's poorest four billion or so
people has been popular since CK Prahalad introduced the idea through
his book Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty
Through Profits in 2004, among many business corporations and business
schools. Kash Rangan, John Quelch, and other faculty members
at the Global
Poverty Project at
Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School "believe that
in pursuing its own self-interest in opening and expanding the BoP
market, business can make a profit while serving the poorest of
consumers and contributing to development." According to Rangan
"For business, the bulk of emerging markets worldwide is at the bottom
of the pyramid so it makes good business sense – not a sense of
do-gooding – to go after it.".
In their 2013 book, "The Business Solution to Poverty," Paul Polak and
Mal Warwick directly addressed the criticism leveled against
Prahalad's concept. They noted that big business often failed to
create products that actually met the needs and desires of the
customers who lived at the bottom-of-the-pyramid. Their answer was
that a business that wanted to success in that market had to spend
time talking to and understanding those customers. Polak had
previously promoted this approach in his previous book, "Out of
Poverty," that described the work of International Development
Enterprises (iDE), which he had formed in 1982. Polak and Warwick
provided practical advice: a product needed to affect at least a
billion people (i.e., have universal appeal), it had to be able to be
delivered to customers living where there wasn't a FedEx office or
even a road, and it had to be "radically affordable" to attract
someone who earned less than $2 a day.
Rather than encouraging mutli-national businesses to meet the needs of
the poor, some organizations such as iDE, the World Resources
Institute, and the
United Nations Development Programme began to focus
on working directly with helping bottom-of-the-pyramid populations
become local, small-scale entrepreneurs. Since so much of this
population is engaged in agriculture, these NGOs have addressed market
gaps that enable small-scale (i.e., plots less than 2 hectares)
farmers to increase their production and find markets for their
harvests. This is done by increasing the availability of farming
equipment (e.g., pumps, tillers, seeders) and better quality seed and
fertilizer, as well as expanding access for training in farming best
practices (e.g., crop rotation).
Creating entrepreneurs through microfinance can produce unintended
outcomes: Some entrepreneurial borrowers become informal
intermediaries between microfinance initiatives and poorer
micro-entrepreneurs. Those who more easily qualify for microfinance
split loans into smaller credit to even poorer borrowers. Informal
intermediation ranges from casual intermediaries at the good or benign
end of the spectrum to 'loan sharks' at the professional and sometimes
criminal end of the spectrum.
Criticisms of this approach
In the view of Friedman the social responsibility of business is to
increase its profits only, thus, it needs to be examined whether
business in BoP markets is capable of achieving the dual objective of
making a profit while serving the poorest of consumers and
contributing to development? Erik Simanis has reported that the model
has a fatal flaw. According to Erik "Despite achieving healthy
penetration rates of 5% to 10% in four test markets, for instance,
Procter & Gamble couldn't generate a competitive return on its Pur
water-purification powder after launching the product on a large scale
in 2001...DuPont ran into similar problems with a venture piloted from
2006 to 2008 in Andhra Pradesh, India, by its subsidiary Solae, a
global manufacturer of soy protein ... Because the high costs of doing
business among the very poor demand a high contribution per
transaction, companies must embrace the reality that high margins and
price points aren't just a top-of-the-pyramid phenomenon; they're also
a necessity for ensuring sustainable businesses at the bottom of the
pyramid." Marc Gunther states that "The bottom-of-the-pyramid
(BOP) market leader, arguably, is Unilever ... Its signature BOP
product is Pureit, a countertop water-purification system sold in
India, Africa and Latin America. It's saving lives, but it's not
making money for shareholders." This leaves the ideal of
eradicating poverty through profits or with a good business sense –
not a sense of do-gooding rather questionable.
Others have noted that relying on BoP consumers to choose to purchase
items that increase their incomes is naive. Poor consumers may spend
their income disproportionately on events or goods and services that
offer short-term benefits rather than invest in things that could
change their lives in the long-term.
Main article: Sustainable development
See also: Effects of global warming
A sewage treatment plant that uses solar energy, located at Santuari
de Lluc monastery, Majorca.
A report published in 2013 by the World Bank, with support from the
Climate & Development Knowledge Network, found that climate change
was likely to hinder future attempts to reduce poverty. The report
presented the likely impacts of present day, 2 °C and 4 °C
warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal
ecosystems and cities across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South
East Asia. The impacts of a temperature rise of 2 °C included:
regular food shortages in Sub-Saharan Africa; shifting rain patterns
in South Asia leaving some parts under water and others without enough
water for power generation, irrigation or drinking; degradation and
loss of reefs in South East Asia, resulting in reduced fish stocks;
and coastal communities and cities more vulnerable to increasingly
violent storms. In 2016, a UN report claimed that by 2030, an
additional 122 million more people could be driven to extreme poverty
because of climate change.
Frank Fenner said in 2010 that he believed that humans will not be
able to survive the population explosion and "unbridled consumption,"
and would become extinct, perhaps within a century, along with many
other species. He believed the situation was irreversible, and that it
was too late because the effects we have had on Earth since
industrialisation rivals any effects of ice ages or comet
impacts. Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson calculated that Earth
would lose half its higher life forms by 2100 if the current rate of
human disruption continued. Many think that poverty is the cause
of environmental degradation, while there are others who claim that
rather the poor are the worst sufferers of environmental degradation
caused by reckless exploitation of natural resources by the rich.
A Delhi-based environment organisation, the Centre for Science and
Environment, points out that if the poor world were to develop and
consume in the same manner as the West to achieve the same living
standards, "we would need two additional planet Earths to produce
resources and absorb wastes.", reports Anup Shah (2003). in his
Poverty and the Environment on Global Issues.
Simple living and Evangelical counsels
Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi renounces his worldly goods in a painting
attributed to Giotto di Bondone.
Among some individuals, poverty is considered a necessary or desirable
condition, which must be embraced to reach certain spiritual, moral,
or intellectual states.
Poverty is often understood to be an essential
element of renunciation in religions such as Buddhism,
for monks, not for lay persons) and Jainism, whilst in Roman
Catholicism it is one of the evangelical counsels. The main aim of
giving up things of the materialistic world is to withdraw oneself
from sensual pleasures (as they are considered illusionary and only
temporary in some religions - such as the concept of dunya in Islam).
This self-invited poverty (or giving up pleasures) is different from
the one caused by economic imbalance.
For Christians who take Jesus' words seriously, voluntary poverty is a
requirement for discipleship. In Luke 14:33 Jesus said, "So therefore,
whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my
disciple". Christian communities, such as the Simple Way, the
Bruderhof, and the
Amish value voluntary poverty; some even take a vow
of poverty, similar to that of the traditional Catholic orders, in
order to live a more complete life of discipleship.
Benedict XVI distinguished "poverty chosen" (the poverty of spirit
proposed by Jesus), and "poverty to be fought" (unjust and imposed
poverty). He considered that the moderation implied in the former
favors solidarity, and is a necessary condition so as to fight
effectively to eradicate the abuse of the latter.
As it was indicated above the reduction of poverty results from
religion, but also can result from solidarity.
Accumulation by dispossession
Bottom of the pyramid
Causes of poverty
Climate change and poverty
Cycle of poverty
Hunger in the United Kingdom
Hunger in the United States
Juvenilization of poverty
List of countries by percentage of population living in poverty
Millennium Development Goals
Poverty in the United Kingdom
Poverty in the United States
Redistribution of income and wealth
United Nations Millennium Declaration
^ In his book
The End of Poverty
The End of Poverty
Jeffrey Sachs argued that extreme
global poverty could be eliminated by 2025 if the wealthy countries of
the world were to increase their combined foreign aid budgets to
between $135 billion and $195 billion from 2005 to 2015. In 2004, 1.1
billion people lived in extreme poverty on less than a dollar a day.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization". www.unesco.org. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
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Reduction" (PDF). IFLL Public Value Paper 1. Latimer Trend, Plymouth,
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(PDF) on 28 May 2015.
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Poverty – Global Issues". www.globalissues.org.
Retrieved 4 November 2015.
^ "Global Monitoring Report; Development Goals in an Era of
Demographic Change" (PDF). www.worldbank.org/gmr. Retrieved 4 November
World Bank Forecasts Global
Poverty to Fall Below 10% for First
Time; Major Hurdles Remain in Goal to End
Poverty by 2030".
Worldbank.org. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
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out of poverty?." The
World Bank Research Observer 28.2 (2013): 139.
^ Jason Hickel (30 March 2015). It will take 100 years for the world's
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Vulnerabilities". The World bank. 29 February 2012.
Poverty and Equity – India, 2010
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^ Ernest C. Madu. "Investment and Development Will Secure the Rights
of the Child".
^ Stephen Haymes, Maria Vidal de Haymes and Reuben Miller (eds), The
Routledge Handbook of
Poverty in the United States, (London:
Routledge, 2015), ISBN 0415673445, pp. 1–2.
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Poverty & Hunger" (PDF). United Nations.
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Livelihoods, and Poverty: Studies of
Social Impacts in
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Food Policy Research Institute
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Poverty in Europe 1998
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World Poverty, and the Wealth of Nations. University of Chicago Press.
Banerjee, Abhijit & Esther Duflo, Poor Economics: A Radical
Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global
Poverty (New York:
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Betson, David M. & Warlick, Jennifer L. "Alternative Historical
Trends in Poverty." American
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Brady, David "Rethinking the Sociological Measurement of Poverty"
Social Forces 81#3 2003, pp. 715–751 Online in Project Muse.
Abstract: Reviews shortcomings of the official U.S. measure; examines
several theoretical and methodological advances in poverty
measurement. Argues that ideal measures of poverty should: (1) measure
comparative historical variation effectively; (2) be relative rather
than absolute; (3) conceptualize poverty as social exclusion; (4)
assess the impact of taxes, transfers, and state benefits; and (5)
integrate the depth of poverty and the inequality among the poor.
Next, this article evaluates sociological studies published since 1990
for their consideration of these criteria. This article advocates for
three alternative poverty indices: the interval measure, the ordinal
measure, and the sum of ordinals measure. Finally, using the
Luxembourg Income Study, it examines the empirical patterns with these
three measures, across advanced capitalist democracies from 1967 to
1997. Estimates of these poverty indices are made available.
Buhmann, Brigitte, et al. 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being,
Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates Across Ten Countries
Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database." Review of Income
and Wealth 34:115–42.
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Danziger, Sheldon H. & Weinberg, Daniel H. "The Historical Record:
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Confronting Poverty: Prescriptions for Change, edited by Sheldon H.
Danziger, Gary D. Sandefur, and Daniel. H. Weinberg. Russell Sage
Ferragina, Emanuele et al. "Poverty, Participation and Choice". Joseph
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Ferragina, Emanuele et al. "
Poverty and Participation in Twenty-First
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Firebaugh, Glenn. "Empirics of World Income Inequality." American
Journal of Sociology (2000) 104:1597–1630. in JSTOR
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Poverty is Failing: a contrarian view
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Haveman, Robert H.
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Routledge Handbook of
Poverty in the United States. Routledge, 2015.
Poverty in America: a handbook University of California
McEwan, Joanne, and Pamela Sharpe, eds. Accommodating Poverty: The
Housing and Living Arrangements of the English Poor, c. 1600–1850
(Palgrave Macmillan; 2010) 292 pages; scholarly studies of rural and
urban poor, as well as vagrants, unmarried mothers, and almshouse
O'Connor, Alice (2000). "
Poverty Research and Policy for the
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ISBN 0-405-03092-4Reprint of Report of the committee appointed by
the Board of Guardians of the Poor of the City and Districts of
Philadelphia to visit the cities of Baltimore, New York, Providence,
Boston, and Salem (published in Philadelphia, 1827); Report of the
Massachusetts General Court's Committee on Pauper Laws (published in
[Boston?], 1821); and the 1824 Report of the New York Secretary of
State on the relief and settlement of the poor (from the 24th annual
report of the New York State Board of Charities, 1901).
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Smeeding, Timothy M., O'Higgins, Michael & Rainwater, Lee.
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World Bank: "Can South Asia End
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Poverty.
Look up poverty in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Poverty
Poverty from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs
Data visualizations of the long-run development of poverty and list of
data sources on poverty on 'Our World in Data'.
Islamic Development Bank
Luxembourg Income Study Contains a wealth of data on income inequality
and poverty, and hundreds of its sponsored research papers using this
Economic Cooperation and Development Contains reports
on economic development as well as relations between rich and poor
Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI)]
Research to advance the human development approach to poverty
Transparency International Tracks issues of government and corporate
corruption around the world.
United Nations Hundreds of free reports related to economic
development and standards of living in countries around the world,
such as the annual Human Development Report.
U.S. Agency for International Development USAID is the primary U.S.
government agency with the mission for aid to developing countries.
World Bank Contains hundreds of reports which can be downloaded for
free, such as the annual World Development Report.
Food Program Associated with the United Nations, the World Food
Program compiles hundreds of reports on hunger and food security
around the world.
Why poverty Documentary films about poverty broadcast on television
around the world in November 2012, then will be available online.
Annual income of richest 100 people enough to end global poverty four
Oxfam International, 19 January 2013.
Contains estimates on the number of people living in poverty in
selected countries from 1973 to 1985
This powerful Reddit thread reveals how the poor get by in America
(January 2015), The Washington Post
Summary of Human Development Report 2014, by the United Nations
2.2 Billion People Are Poor. Truthdig, 23 July 2014.
Poverty History, by
Vijay Prashad for Jacobin. 10 November
Deprivation and poverty indicators
Social determinants of health in poverty
Social Progress Index
Poverty and mental health
Social and psychological value of money
Poverty Line (India)
Homeless Vulnerability Index
Misery index (economics)
Genuine progress indicator
Genuine progress indicator (GPI)
Legatum Prosperity Index
Poverty gap index
Poverty and Violence
Disability and poverty
Disability-adjusted life year
Disability-adjusted life year (DALYs)
Global Peace Index
Global Peace Index (GPI)
Human Poverty Index (HPI)
Human Development Index
Human Development Index (HDI)
Multidimensional Poverty Index
Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI)
Laeken indicators (EU)
Scottish index of multiple deprivation
Townsend deprivation index
Living Planet Index
Living Planet Index (LPI)
Progress out of
Feminization of poverty
Gender-related Development Index (GDI)
Gender Parity Index
Theories of poverty
Quality of Life
Self-perceived quality-of-life scale
Subjective well-being (SWB)
Rural access issues
Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas
Diseases of poverty
Diseases of poverty
African sleeping sickness
Priority review voucher
Indices of Deprivation
National (general deprivation)
Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000 (IMD2000)
Indices of deprivation 2004 (ID2004)
Indices of deprivation 2007 (ID2007)
Indices of deprivation 2010 (ID2010)
National (subject specific deprivation)
Underprivileged area score
Department of Environment Index
Spoon class theory
Nouveau riche / Parvenu
dual or multiple
Lower middle class
Upper middle class
Peasant / Serf
By country or region
Social class in American history
Middle (Mexican-American, Black)
Standard of living
Pre-industrial East Asia
Poverty in Africa
Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire)
São Tomé and Príncipe
States with limited
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Canary Islands / Ceuta / Melilla (Spain)
Mayotte / Réunion (France)
Saint Helena / Ascension Island / Tristan da
Cunha (United Kingdom)
Poverty in the Americas
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
British Virgin Islands
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
US Virgin Islands
Poverty in Asia
East Timor (Timor-Leste)
United Arab Emirates
British Indian Ocean Territory
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Poverty in Europe
Bosnia and Herzegovina
States with limited
Isle of Man
Poverty in Oceania
Federated States of Micronesia
Papua New Guinea
of New Zealand
and other territories
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
Wallis and Futuna