Poverty is a state of limited or lack, especially of food, money and materials needed for daily living. In today’s society poverty involves more than just an inability to afford basic life necessities it also includes the issues of inequality and social exclusion. “Income poverty occurs when people do not have enough income to buy the basic goods and services that they need to survive” (wiki). The main cause of income poverty comes from unemployment which can be caused by economic downturns, business cycles, government budget cuts etc.
Despite what many believe there are many different types of poverty each one being affected by different factors. It is important to understand these factors so that policies may be applied correctly in order to decrease future poverty.
Types of Poverty:
Poverty is usually divided into two types Absolute and Relative.
Absolute poverty is defined as the minimum level of income needed to satisfy basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter (wiki). It is most commonly found in developing countries such as Africa and India. In today’s society many people think that this type of poverty does not exist but there are still millions of Americans who live below the poverty line. Unfortunately they do not have enough money to meet their needs therefore it cannot be said that they do not live in absolute poverty. This shows that even though America’s economy has improved over time and become more stable, there are still great issues regarding inequality among its citizens.
Relative poverty, on the other hand, is defined as a lack of resources that is relative to the rest of society (wiki). This type of poverty is most commonly found in developed countries such as the United States and Canada. It occurs when people do not have enough money to meet the average standard of living in their society. As mentioned before, this type of poverty is often caused by economic downturns and government budget cuts. In addition to Absolute and Relative there are also 4 other types of poverty which are:
1) Urban Poverty: The percentage of people who live below the national poverty line in urban areas.
2) Rural Poverty: The percentage of people who live below the national poverty line in rural areas.
3) Absolute Rural Poverty:Absolute Poverty: The percentage of all people in a country who live below the national poverty line.
4) Relative Poverty: The percentage of all people in a country who do not have enough money to meet the average standard of living in their society.
Inequality and Social Exclusion:
Today’s society is often criticized for its growing levels of inequality, especially within developed countries such as Canada and America. Inequality has grown so much that many scholars claim it has become an ethical issue which must be addressed immediately if we wish to improve human well-being (Blind).
Within social theories, one explanation that seeks to better understand the causes and consequences of this increasing inequality is called “social exclusion”. Social exclusion consists on denying
The percentage of people who live below the absolute poverty line in rural areas.
4) Chronic Poverty: People who have been living in poverty for a long time (usually more than 3 years).
Causes of Poverty:
There are many different factors that can contribute to poverty. Some of these are structural factors such as unemployment, underemployment and low wages while others are individual factors such as bad health, addictions and low levels of education.
Structural factors are often beyond an individual’s control and arise from economic and social conditions within a society. They can include things such as a lack of jobs, high rates of crime and violence, inadequate education and training, and poor housing conditions.
Structural factors do not exist in isolation; they are often linked to other causes such as poverty and exclusion, which may be the result of individual circumstances. Individual factors can include things like addiction, family problems, lack of education and poor health (Blind).
It is important for both structural and individual factors to be analyzed in order to identify possible solutions that fit specific circumstances. For example, a job loss within a single parent household will likely require different solutions than unemployment within a well-educated middle class community (Blind).
Poverty Reduction Strategies:
In order to reduce levels of poverty countries typically have several strategies in place. Some approaches involve increasing the quality of public services while others encourage economic growth and development.
Governments often provide assistance in the form of cash transfers, food stamps, free housing or vouchers for health care and education. Other popular methods include: microcredit or loans, job training and placement, and social assistance programs. Increasing access to quality education is also seen as a key factor in reducing poverty (Oxfam).
It is important to note that not all strategies are effective in all contexts. What works in one country may not work in another, and it is important to continually evaluate and adjust policies as needed (Oxfam).
In conclusion, there are many different types of poverty which can be caused by a variety of factors. In order to reduce levels of poverty, countries often have several strategies in place, including increasing access to education and providing assistance in the form of cash transfers or social programs. However, it is important to note that not all strategies are effective in all contexts, and it is necessary to continually evaluate and adjust policies as needed.