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Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them.[1][2] This is also referred to as absolute poverty or destitution. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. About 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty.[3][4]

Poverty is additionally seen as a state of mind and a lifestyle- more than just a lack of materials. It is a state of deprivation and insecurity. Even those who can get above poverty are always close to falling back into its clutches. [5]

Accumulation of wealth, sometimes resulting in overall poverty reduction within a nation or society, has historically been a result of economic growth as increased levels of production, such as modern industrial technology, made more wealth available for some individuals and groups within societies and nation states.[4][6][7] Wealth distribution however, often occurs along highly unequal lines. This sometimes prompts redistributive approaches to poverty reduction. Investments in modernizing agriculture and increasing yields via green revolution technology is often considered the core of the antipoverty effort, given three-quarters of the world's poor are rural farmers.[8][9] However, alternative theories of development economics cite the process of agricultural industrialization as a driver of unequal land distribution, declining food security, and rural-urban migration.[10]

Neoliberal approaches to development, as promoted by the World Bank, IMF, and WTO include extending and enforcing property rights, especially to land, to the poor, and making financial services, notably savings, accessible.[11][12][13] While this process encourages integration into the global market, some sectors of society, especially informal subsistence farmers and indigenous peoples, who often struggle to gain legal recognition of property rights, can be negatively affected.[14] Inefficient institutions, corruption and political instability can also make state recognition of such rights difficult. Government support in health, education and infrastructure helps alleviate poverty by increasing human and physical capital.[4]


[edit] Definitions

Child in a slum in Jakarta, Indonesia.

There many definitions of poverty depending on the context of the situation and the views of the person giving the definition. These are some from various sources including a well-known development scholar. Poverty is also often divided into relative poverty and absolute poverty. Poverty can also be defined as a condition wherein a person cannot satisfy his or her basic needs, namely, food, shelter, clothing, health and education.

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 dignity. 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.
Fundamentally, poverty is a denial of 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 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. It includes a lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterized by lack of participation in decision making and in civil, social and cultural life. It occurs in all countries: as mass poverty in many developing countries, pockets of poverty amid wealth in developed countries, loss of livelihoods as a result of economic recession, sudden poverty as a result of disaster or conflict, the poverty of low-wage workers, and the utter destitution of people who fall outside family support systems, social institutions and safety nets.
To meet nutritional requirements, to escape avoidable disease, to be sheltered, to be clothed, to be able to travel, and to be educated.
People are living in poverty if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally. As a result of inadequate income and resources people may be excluded and marginalised from participating in activities which are considered the norm for other people in society.

[edit] Poverty and Rights; The Right of Indigency

A girl begging in India.

Apart from the fact that resources to claim rights, that may reasonably in itself be seen as an injustice. Such injustice takes many forms, of which the inability to avail oneself of recourse to the courts is one.

Indigency literally means “lack”; as commonly used nowadays the term means poverty, or “lack of the ability to pay”, often the ability to pay for legal defence. In US law, which in this respect is fairly typical among modern First World legal systems, Amendment 6 to the United States Constitution says: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ... and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

As an implication of such a right, if there is appropriate evidence that the accused is indigent, which in this case amounts to lacking the means to pay for his defence, the usual costs must be waived, and counsel appointed as necessary or appropriate.

Recognition of that right is sometimes referred to, perhaps confusingly, as the “right of indigency”; it is now widely accepted as a right in international law.[20]

[edit] Causes

[edit] Scarcity of basic needs

Hardwood surgical tables are commonplace in rural Nigerian clinics.

Before the industrial revolution, poverty had been mostly accepted as inevitable as economies produced little, making wealth scarce.[3] According to Geoffrey Parker, "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 tax, and therefore likely to need relief in times of crisis."[21] In 18th century England, half the population was at least occasionally dependent on charity for subsistence.[22] In modern times, food shortages have been reduced dramatically in the developed world, thanks to agricultural technologies such as nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides and new irrigation methods.[23][24] This change however, coincides with and has been linked to the Second wave of European colonization. Also, mass production of goods in places such as China has made what were once considered luxuries, such as vehicles or computers, inexpensive and thus accessible to many who were otherwise too poor to afford them.[25][26]

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 richer 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[27] led to food riots in some countries.[28][29][30] The World Bank warned that 100 million people were at risk of sinking deeper into poverty.[31] Threats to the supply of food may also be caused by drought and the water crisis.[32][33][34] Intensive farming often leads to a vicious cycle of exhaustion of soil fertility and decline of agricultural yields.[35] Approximately 40% of the world's agricultural land is seriously degraded.[36][37] 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 UNU's Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa.[38]

Health care can be widely unavailable to the poor. The loss of health care workers emigrating from impoverished countries has a damaging effect. For example, an estimated 100,000 Philippine nurses emigrated between 1994 and 2006.[39] As of 2004, there were more Ethiopia-trained doctors living in Chicago than in Ethiopia.[40]

Overpopulation and lack of access to birth control methods drive poverty.[41][42][43] The world's population is expected to reach nearly 9 billion in 2040.[44] However, the reverse is also true, that poverty causes overpopulation as it gives women little power to control giving birth, or to have educational attainment or a career.[45]

Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling spoke of the hardships of poverty which she endured before she became famous, and said:

"Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts -- that is something on which to pride yourself -- but poverty itself is romanticized only by fools." -- J.K. Rowling, June 2008, Harvard commencement address[46]

[edit] Third World debt

Third World debt plays a large part in international inequality and poverty. On average in 1999, $128 million was transferred from indebted industrializing countries to debt holding nations for debt repayments. Of this, $53 million was from East Asia and the Pacific, $38 million from South Asia and $23 million from Africa.[47] The World Bank and the IMF, as primary holders of Third World debt, generally attach structural adjustment conditionalities to loans. These conditionalities generally push for economic liberalization, including reducing barriers to trade, elimination of state subsidies, Union busting, privatization of state assets and services, and enforcement of private property rights. As a result of such policies, in 1997, Zambia spent 40% of its total budget to repay foreign debt, and only 7% for basic state services.[47] In spite of mandating these policies in the industrializing world, many industrialized nations including the United States heavily subsidize agriculture, among other industries. This, in the context of liberalized trade, can result in the dumping of agricultural products on the industrializing world. Small farmers within the recipient country are easily out-competed by these subsidized foreign goods, and are often forced to migrate to urban areas.[48] This process can result in the development of slums when the urban economy cannot absorb the influx of excess labor. Maquilas and sweat shops, often linked to multinational corporations, often work to absorb labor and provide employment. These institutions however, have become notorious for violating the rights of employees, and quickly re-locating when employees begin to demand higher wages. Many theories of development economics cite this process as a main driver of international migration, inequality, and poverty.[49] The theory of accumulation by dispossession directly addresses and outlines this process. It was around this notion that much of the anti-globalization movement has been mobilized, framing the process as a form of neo-imperialism.

[edit] Barriers to opportunities

Street children sleeping in Mulberry Street - Jacob Riis photo New York, United States (1890)
Homeless people living in cardboard boxes in Los Angeles, United States
Carrying water in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, 2008

The unwillingness of governments and feudal elites to give full-fledged property rights in land to their tenants is cited as the chief obstacle to development.[50] This lack of economic freedom inhibits entrepreneurship among the poor.[6] New enterprises and foreign investment can be driven away by the results of inefficient institutions, notably corruption, weak rule of law and excessive bureaucratic burdens.[4][6] Lack of financial services, as a result of restrictive regulations, such as the requirements for banking licenses, makes it hard for even smaller microsavings programs to reach the poor.[51]


It takes two days, two bureaucratic procedures, and $280 to open a business in Canada while an entrepreneur in Bolivia must pay $2,696 in fees, wait 82 business days, and go through 20 procedures to do the same.[6] Such costly barriers favor big firms at the expense of small enterprises, where most jobs are created.[6] In India, before economic reforms, businesses had to bribe government officials even for routine activities, which was, in effect, a tax on business.[4]

For example, in Nigeria, corruption led to an estimated $400 billion of the country's oil revenue being stolen by Nigeria's leaders between 1960 and 1999.[52][53] Lack of opportunities can further be caused by the failure of governments to provide essential infrastructure.[54][55]

High competition
Higher cost of education
Lack of industrialization

For instance, in India, there is a lower rate of business establishment in various states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. With lower industrialization and infrastructural development in the state the provision of basic facilities like schools, colleges and hospitals tends to be below average. Education and healthcare does not reach the common people. Due to lack of jobs, people are forced to migrate to large cities for temporary work. For those unable to find jobs the result is impoverishment. Poor health and education severely affects productivity at work. Inadequate nutrition in childhood undermines the ability of individuals to develop their full physical and mental capabilities. Lack of essential minerals such as iodine and iron can impair brain development. 2 billion people (one-third of the total global population) are thought to be affected by iodine deficiency. In developing countries, it is estimated that 40% of children aged 4 and younger suffer from anemia because of insufficient iron in their diets.[56]

Similarly substance abuse, including for example alcoholism and drug abuse can consign people to vicious poverty cycles.[citation needed] 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.[57][58][59]

War, political instability and crime, including violent gangs and drug cartels, also discourage investment. Civil wars and conflicts in Africa cost the continent some $300 billion between 1990 and 2005.[60] Eritrea and Ethiopia spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the war that resulted in minor border changes.[61] Shocks in the business cycle affect poverty rates, increasing in recessions and declining in booms. Cultural factors, such as discrimination of various kinds, can negatively affect productivity such as age discrimination, stereotyping,[62] gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and caste discrimination.[63]

Max Weber and the modernization theory suggest that cultural values could affect economic success.[64][65] 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.[66]

[edit] Effects of poverty

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.

[edit] Health

Hunger, disease, and less education describe a person in poverty. One third of deaths - some 18 million people a year or 50,000 per day - are due to poverty-related causes: in total 270 million people, most of them women and children, have died as a result of poverty since 1990.[67] Those living in poverty suffer disproportionately from hunger or even starvation and disease.[68] 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 cases.[69]

Every year nearly 11 million children living in poverty die before their fifth birthday. 1.02 billion people go to bed hungry every night.[70] Poverty increases the risk of homelessness.[71] There are over 100 million street children worldwide.[72] Increased risk of drug abuse may also be associated with poverty.[73]

According to the Global Hunger Index, South Asia has the highest child malnutrition rate of the world's regions.[74] Nearly half of all Indian children are undernourished,[75] one of the highest rates in the world and nearly double the rate of Sub-Saharan Africa.[76] Every year, more than half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth.[77] Almost 90% of maternal deaths occur in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, compared to less than 1% in the developed world.[78]

Women who have born children into poverty may not be able to nourish the children efficiently and provide adequate care in infancy. The children may also suffer from disease that has been passed down to the child through birth. Asthma and rickets are common problems children acquire when born into poverty.[citation needed]

[edit] Education

Great Depression: man lying down on pier, New York City docks, 1935.

Research has found that there is a high risk of educational underachievement for children who are from low-income housing circumstances. This often is a process that begins in primary school for some less fortunate children. In the US educational system, these children are at a higher risk than other children for retention in their grade, special placements during the school's hours and even not completing their high school education.[79] There are indeed many explanations for why students tend to drop out of school. For children with low resources, the risk factors are similar to excuses such as juvenile delinquency rates, higher levels of teenage pregnancy, and the economic dependency upon their low income parent or parents.[79]

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 majorly important issues to address since education from preschool to high school are both identifiably meaningful in a life.[79]

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 these students are at a disadvantage in the school and most importantly the classroom.[80] 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.[80] These illnesses could potentially restrict a child or student's focus and concentration.

[edit] Housing

Street child in Bangladesh

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 United Nations.[81]

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.[82] Experts and child advocates maintain that orphanages are expensive and often harm children's development by separating them from their families.[82] 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.[82]

[edit] Violence

According to a UN report on modern slavery, the most common form of human trafficking is for prostitution, which is largely fueled by poverty.[83][84] In Zimbabwe, a number of girls are turning to prostitution for food to survive because of the increasing poverty.[85] In one survey, 67% of children from disadvantaged inner cities said they had witnessed a serious assault, and 33% reported witnessing a homicide.[86] 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: $40,127).[87]

[edit] Substance abuse

See Substance abuse

[edit] Poverty reduction

Historically, poverty reduction has been largely a result of economic growth.[4][6] The industrial revolution led to high economic growth and eliminated mass poverty in what is now considered the developed world.[3][6] In 1820, 75% of humanity lived on less than a dollar a day, while in 2001, only about 20% did.[6]{{Dubious|date=April 2010} . Strategies such as economic liberalization, physical capital production, aid provision, creation of good institutions and women empowerment are sited as important human interventions in the reduction of poverty. Though controversial, the use and implementation of these strategies worldwide have been crucial to the discussion of poverty.

[edit] Economic liberalization

Economic liberalization, defined as the reduction of government regulations and restrictions in reference to the economy, encompasses the process that promotes free trade, deregulation, elimination of subsidies, price controls and rationing systems, and often, the downsizing or privatization of public services[88]. The process can be broken into several areas to address: trade liberalization, financial liberalization, and privatization, all of which are addressed by the United Nations document[89].

[edit] Capital, infrastructure and technology

Economic growth is sustainable only through increases and improvements in capital (factors that increase productivity), both human and physical, and technologyCite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag; see the help page.

Good institutions

Efficient institutions that are not corrupt and that obey the rule of law make and enforce good laws that provide security to property and businesses. Efficient and fair governments would work to invest in the long-term interests of the nation rather than plunder resources through corruption.[4] Researchers at UC Berkeley developed what they called a "Weberianness scale" which measures aspects of bureaucracies and governments Max Weber described as most important for rational-legal and efficient government over 100 years ago. Comparative research has found that the scale is correlated with higher rates of economic development.[90] Good institutions are vital. When none exist or the only existing are hard to access, traditional systems then provide law and order. These systems have roots in honor, and often, lead to inequality in the home. [91]

[edit] Empowering women

Empowering women has helped some countries increase and sustain economic development.[92] When given more capabilities and opportunities, women begin to seek more education, thus increasing the overall human capital base of the country; when given more influence, women seem more altruistic or to act more responsibly in helping people in the family or village; and when better educated and more in control of their lives including protection of property rights and other capabilities not historically given to women, women are more successful in bringing down rapid population growth because they have more say in family planning and pulling their families out of poverty[93].

[edit] Demographics

Percentage of population living on less than $1.25 per day. UN estimates 2000-2006.
Percentage of population suffering from hunger, World Food Programme, 2006
Life expectancy has been increasing and converging for most of the world. Sub-Saharan Africa has recently seen a decline, partly related to the AIDS epidemic. Graph shows the years 1950-2005.

[edit] Absolute poverty

Poverty is usually measured as either absolute or relative poverty (the latter being actually an index of income inequality). Absolute poverty refers to a set standard which is consistent over time and between countries. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US $1.25 (PPP) per day, and moderate poverty as less than $2 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 estimates 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."[94]

Six million children die of hunger every year - 17,000 every day.[95] Selective Primary Health Care has been shown to be one of the most efficient ways in which absolute poverty can be eradicated in comparison to Primary Health Care which has a target of treating diseases. Disease prevention is the focus of Selective Primary Health Care which puts this system on higher grounds in terms of preventing malnutrition and illness, thus putting an end to Absolute Poverty.[96]

The proportion of the developing world's population living in extreme economic poverty fell from 28 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2001.[94] Most of this improvement has occurred in East and South Asia.[97] In 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."[98] In Sub-Saharan Africa extreme poverty went up from 41 percent in 1981 to 46 percent in 2001[citation needed], which combined with growing population increased the number of people living in extreme poverty from 231 million to 318 million.[99]

In the early 1990s some of the transition economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia experienced a sharp drop in income.[100] 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%[101][102] The World Bank issued a report predicting that between 2007 and 2027 the populations of Georgia and Ukraine will decrease by 17% and 24% respectively.[103]

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:[104][105]

Region 1990 2002 2004
East Asia and Pacific 15.40% 12.33% 9.07%
Europe and Central Asia 3.60% 1.28% 0.95%
Latin America and the Caribbean 9.62% 9.08% 8.64%
Middle East and North Africa 2.08% 1.69% 1.47%
South Asia 35.04% 33.44% 30.84%
Sub-Saharan Africa 46.07% 42.63% 41.09%

Other human development indicators have also been improving. Life expectancy has greatly increased in the developing world since WWII and is starting to close the gap to the developed world.[citation needed] Child mortality has decreased in every developing region of the world.[citation needed] 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 consumer items.[106]

There are various criticisms of these measurements.[107] Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion note that although "a clear trend decline in the percentage of people who are absolutely poor is evident ... with uneven progress across regions...the developing world outside China and India has seen little or no sustained progress in reducing the number of poor".

Since the world's population is increasing, a constant number living in poverty would be associated with a diminishing proportion. Looking at the percentage living on less than $1/day, and if excluding China and India, then this percentage has decreased from 31.35% to 20.70% between 1981 and 2004.[108]

The 2007 World Bank report "Global Economic Prospects" predicts that in 2030 the number living on less than the equivalent of $1 a day will fall by half, to about 550 million. An average resident of what we used to call the Third World will live about as well as do residents of the Czech or Slovak republics today. Much of Africa will have difficulty keeping pace with the rest of the developing world and even if conditions there improve in absolute terms, the report warns, Africa in 2030 will be home to a larger proportion of the world's poorest people than it is today.[109]

The reason for the faster economic growth in East Asia and South Asia is a result of their relative backwardness, in a phenomenon called the convergence hypothesis or the conditional convergence hypothesis. Because these economies began modernizing later than richer nations, they could benefit from simply adapting technological advances which enable higher levels of productivity that had been invented over centuries in richer nations.

[edit] Relative poverty

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 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 measures are used as official poverty rates in several developed countries. As such these poverty statistics measure inequality rather than material deprivation or hardship. The measurements are usually based on a person's yearly income and frequently take no account of total wealth. The main poverty line used in the OECD and the European Union is based on "economic distance", a level of income set at 60% of the median household income.[110]

[edit] Other aspects

Slum in Mumbai, India. 60% of Mumbai's more than 18 million inhabitants live in slums.[111]

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.

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.[112] The social aspects of poverty may include lack of access to information, education, health care, or political power.[113][114]

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.[115][116][117] 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.

Harlem, New York, USA. In 2006 the poverty rate for minors in the United States was the highest in the industrialized world, with 21.9% of all minors and 30% of African American minors living below the poverty threshold.[118]

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.[119] These include:

  • Precarious livelihoods
  • Excluded locations
  • Physical limitations
  • Gender relationships
  • Problems in social relationships
  • Lack of security
  • Abuse by those in power
  • Dis-empowering institutions
  • Limited capabilities
  • 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 programs.[120]

Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States.

Ultra-poverty, a term apparently coined by Michael Lipton,[121] 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 Food Policy Research Institute defined ultra-poverty as living on less than 54 cents per day.[122] BRAC (NGO) has pioneered a program called Targeting the Ultra-Poor to redress ultra-poverty by working with individual ultra-poor women.[123]

[edit] Voluntary poverty

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 (only for monks, not for lay persons) and Jainism, whilst in Roman Catholicism it is one of the evangelical counsels.

Certain religious orders also take a vow of extreme poverty. For example, the Franciscan orders have traditionally foregone all individual and corporate forms of ownership. While individual ownership of goods and wealth is forbidden for Benedictines, following the Rule of St. Benedict, the monastery itself may possess both goods and money, and throughout history some monasteries have become very rich.[citation needed]

In this context of religious vows, poverty may be understood as a means of self-denial to place oneself at the service of others; Pope Honorius III wrote in 1217 that the Dominicans "lived a life of voluntary poverty, exposing themselves to innumerable dangers and sufferings, for the salvation of others".

Benedict XVI distinguishes “poverty chosen” (the poverty of spirit proposed by Jesus), and “poverty to be fought” (unjust and imposed poverty). He considers 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.[124]

[edit] See also



[edit] Organizations and campaigns

[edit] In documentary photography and film

Authors with significant work
Significant titles

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Encarta Poverty definition". Encarta Poverty definition. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
  2. ^ Sociology in our times[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Under traditional (i.e., nonindustrialized) modes of economic production, widespread poverty had been accepted as inevitable. The total output of goods and services, even if equally distributed, would still have been insufficient to give the entire population a comfortable standard of living by prevailing standards. With the economic productivity that resulted from industrialization, however, this ceased to be the case" Encyclopedia Britannica, "Poverty"
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Krugman, Paul, and Robin Wells. Macroeconomics. 2. New York City: Worth Publishers, 2009. Print.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Ending Mass Poverty by Ian Vásquez
  7. ^
  8. ^ Obama enlists major powers to aid poor farmers with $15 billion
  9. ^ World Bank report puts agriculture at core of antipoverty effort
  10. ^
  11. ^ Kiviat, Barbara (2009-08-30). "Microfinance's next step: deposits". Time. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
  12. ^ Africa's mobile banking revolution
  13. ^ "Land rights help fight poverty". 2009-08-30. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
  14. ^
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[edit] Further reading

  • Adato, Michelle & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, eds. Agricultural Research, Livelihoods, and Poverty: Studies of Economic and Social Impacts in Six Countries (2007), Johns Hopkins University Press, [ International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Anzia, Lys "Educate a Woman, You Educate a Nation" - South Africa Aims to Improve its Education for Girls WNN - Women News Network. Aug. 28, 2007.
  • Atkinson, Anthony. Poverty in Europe 1998
  • Babb, Sarah (2009). Behind the Development Banks: Washington Politics, World Poverty, and the Wealth of Nations. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226033655.
  • Bergmann, Barbara. "Deciding Who's Poor", Dollars & Sense, March/April 2000
  • Betson, David M. & Warlick, Jennifer L. "Alternative Historical Trends in Poverty." American Economic Review 88:348-51. 1998. in JSTOR
  • 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 Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database." Review of Income and Wealth 34:115-42.
  • Cox, W. Michael & Alm, Richard. Myths of Rich and Poor 1999
  • Danziger, Sheldon H. & Weinberg, Daniel H. "The Historical Record: Trends in Family Income, Inequality, and Poverty." Pp. 18–50 in Confronting Poverty: Prescriptions for Change, edited by Sheldon H. Danziger, Gary D. Sandefur, and Daniel. H. Weinberg. Russell Sage Foundation. 1994.
  • Firebaugh, Glenn. "Empirics of World Income Inequality." American Journal of Sociology (2000) 104:1597-1630. in JSTOR
  • Frank, Ellen, Dr. Dollar: How Is Poverty Defined in Government Statistics? Dollars & Sense, January/February 2006
  • Gans, Herbert J., "The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All", Social Policy, July/August 1971: pp. 20–24
  • George, Abraham, Wharton Business School Publications - Why the Fight Against Poverty is Failing: a contrarian view
  • Gordon, David M. Theories of Poverty and Underemployment: Orthodox, Radical, and Dual Labor Market Perspectives. 1972.
  • Haveman, Robert H. Poverty Policy and Poverty Research. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press 1987 ISBN 0-299-11150-4
  • Iceland, John Poverty in America: a handbook University of California Press, 2003
  • 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 dwellers.
  • O'Connor, Alice "Poverty Research and Policy for the Post-Welfare Era" Annual Review of Sociology, 2000
  • Osberg, Lars & Xu, Kuan. "International Comparisons of Poverty Intensity: index decomposition and bootstrap inference." The Journal of Human Resources 2000. 35:51-81.
  • Paugam, Serge. "Poverty and Social Exclusion: a sociological view." Pp. 41–62 in The Future of European Welfare, edited by Martin Rhodes and Yves Meny, 1998.
  • Philippou, Lambros (2010) "Public Space, Enlarged Mentality and Being-In-Poverty", Philosophical Inquiry, Vol. 32, No. 1-2 pp. 103–115.
  • Pressman, Steven, Poverty in America: an annotated bibliography. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994 ISBN 0-8108-2833-2
  • Rothman, David J., (editor). The Almshouse Experience (Poverty U.S.A.: the Historical Record). New York: Arno Press, 1971. 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).
  • Sen, Amartya Poverty and Famines: an essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981
  • Sen, Amartya. Development as Freedom. New York: Knopf, 1999
  • Smeeding, Timothy M., O'Higgins, Michael & Rainwater, Lee. Poverty, Inequality and Income Distribution in Comparative Perspective. Urban Institute Press 1990.
  • Smith, Stephen C., Ending Global Poverty: a guide to what works, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005
  • Triest, Robert K. "Has Poverty Gotten Worse?" Journal of Economic Perspectives 1998. 12:97-114.
  • Wilson, Richard & Pickett, Kate. The Spirit Level, London: Allen Lane, 2009
  • World Bank: "Can South Asia End Poverty in a Generation?"
  • World Bank, "World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work For Poor People", 2004.

[edit] External links