Back to: Jss1 Social Studies (NVE)
Poverty refers to a lack of resources, income, and access to basic needs such as food, housing, healthcare, education, and clothing. It is a widespread condition that affects people of all ages, races, and genders and is defined by a lack of access to the material and social resources necessary for a minimally decent standard of living.
Poverty is typically measured using income-based poverty lines, which vary across countries and over time. In many countries, poverty is characterized by low wages, unemployment, underemployment, and a lack of access to quality education and healthcare. People living in poverty often face significant social, economic, and political barriers that prevent them from improving their situation and escaping poverty.
Poverty is not just an individual problem, but also a social and systemic issue that can be perpetuated across generations. It is often rooted in larger societal issues such as income inequality, discrimination, and unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. Addressing poverty requires not only providing immediate aid and support to those in need, but also addressing the underlying social, economic, and political factors that contribute to poverty.
Causes of Poverty
- Inequality of income distribution: The unequal distribution of wealth and income in a society can result in poverty, as the poor do not have access to the same resources and opportunities as the wealthy.
- Lack of education and job skills: Poor educational opportunities and a lack of job skills can limit individuals’ ability to secure well-paying jobs and escape poverty.
- Unemployment: High levels of unemployment can result in a lack of income and contribute to poverty.
- Inadequate healthcare: Poor access to quality healthcare can result in illness and financial strain, leading to poverty.
- Environmental degradation: Natural disasters, such as droughts, hurricanes, and earthquakes, can destroy crops, homes, and livelihoods, leading to poverty.
- Corruption: Corruption at the government and institutional levels can result in a lack of resources being allocated to those in need, leading to poverty.
- Political instability: Political instability, such as civil war and conflict, can disrupt economies and result in poverty.
- Unfair trade policies: Global trade policies that benefit developed countries at the expense of developing countries can result in poverty.
- Discrimination: Discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors can result in limited access to education, employment, and other resources, leading to poverty.
- Inadequate social safety net programs: The lack of effective social safety net programs, such as unemployment insurance and welfare, can result in poverty, as individuals and families do not have a safety net to fall back on in times of need.
Effects of Poverty
- Malnutrition and Hunger: Poverty often results in a lack of access to adequate and nutritious food, leading to malnutrition and hunger.
- Poor Health: Poor living conditions and lack of access to healthcare can lead to poor health and increased susceptibility to disease.
- Homelessness: Poverty can lead to a lack of affordable housing and result in homelessness.
- Lack of Education: Children living in poverty are often unable to attend school regularly and receive a quality education, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
- Crime and Violence: Poverty can lead to an increase in crime and violence in communities, particularly in areas with limited job opportunities and social services.
- Mental Health Issues: Poverty can result in chronic stress and trauma, leading to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
- Limited Job Opportunities: Poverty can limit job opportunities and result in low-paying, unstable employment.
- Poor Environmental Conditions: Poverty-stricken areas may lack basic services such as clean water and proper waste disposal, leading to poor environmental conditions.
- Social Isolation: Poverty can lead to social isolation and a lack of access to community resources and support networks.
- Political Instability: Poverty can result in political instability, as people living in poverty are more likely to engage in social unrest and protest.