Poverty and Social Life




What is poverty?

Poverty is the state of not having enough material possessions or income for a person's basic needs. Poverty may include social, economical, and political elements.   

Absolute poverty is the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs, such as foodclothing, and shelter. The floor at which absolute poverty is defined is always about the same, independent of the person's permanent location or era.

Relative poverty occurs when a person cannot meet a minimum level of living standards, compared to others in the same time and place. Therefore, the floor at which relative poverty is defined varies from one country to another or from one society to another.

Effects of poverty-

Issues like hunger, illness, and poor sanitation are all causes and effects of poverty. That is to say, that not having food means being poor, but being poor also means being unable to afford food or clean water. The effects of poverty are often interrelated so that one problem rarely occurs alone. Bad sanitation makes one susceptible to diseases, and hunger and lack of clean water makes one even more vulnerable to diseases. Impoverished countries and communities often suffer from discrimination and end up caught in a cycle of poverty.

 Effects of poverty on health-

 Over 10,000 children die every day because they live in poor housing.

Without effective sanitation in their home, children are especially vulnerable to life-threatening diarrhea and intestinal infections. And in houses where there’s insufficient ventilation, people are especially vulnerable to respiratory diseases.

Clean, warm homes provide protection from the elements and help improve a family’s health by preventing illness and diseases such as tuberculosis, diarrhea, and malaria. Families who live in a properly constructed home are less likely to fall prey to such diseases and are better equipped to recover from any illnesses they may contract. It goes without saying that the mental health of individuals and families is greatly improved when physical health concerns are taken away.

Effects of poverty on education and schooling

Home gives children opportunity for the future by providing a stable foundation where they can study and do as well as they can at school.

Children are also able to develop into responsible adults as they experience security and see their own parents taking care of the home. For adults, home is key to maintaining employment and provides opportunities for income generation by the creation of home-based small businesses.

Effects of poverty on children and families

Home is indeed where the heart is and a stable, well constructed home is at the center of family life.

When families have a home where they feel safe and secure they will draw together as a family unit to love and support one another. There is also an added sense of pride and dignity that comes with a decent home which translates to a hopefulness for the future well being and success of the family.

There is plenty enough research showing that growing up in an unsafe environment not only affects children’s health seriously but also as a result of this the attendance at school (and ability to get a degree or diploma).


Economic theories-

Causes of poverty are a highly ideologically charged subject, as different causes point to different remedies. Very broadly speaking, the socialist tradition locates the roots of poverty in problems of distribution and the use of the means of production as capital benefiting individuals, and calls for redistribution of health  as the solution, whereas the neoliberal school of thought is dedicated the idea that creating conditions for profitable private investment is the solution. Neoliberal think tanks have received extensive funding, and the ability to apply many of their ideas in highly indebted countries in the global south as a condition for receiving emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund.


A report published in 2013 by the world bank, with support from the climate and 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.


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, Hinduism (only 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 dunia in Islam). This self-invited poverty (or giving up pleasures) is different from the one caused by economic imbalance.

Some 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.