Condition where people’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met.
According to World Bank:
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.
According to United Nations:
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 food and clothing 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.
Type of Poverty:
Poverty is generally of two types which are as follow.
Absolute poverty is synonymous with destitution and occurs when people cannot obtain adequate resources (measured in terms of calories or nutrition) to support a minimum level of physical health. Absolute poverty means about the same everywhere, and can be eradicated as demonstrated by some countries.
Relative poverty occurs when people do not enjoy a certain minimum level of living standards as determined by a government (and enjoyed by the bulk of the population) that vary from country to country, sometimes within the same country. Relative poverty occurs everywhere, is said to be increasing, and may never be eradicated.
Psychological Cause of poverty
Poverty is regarded as a vicious circle. It is the product of different causes. Some of the thinkers have attributed it to a single cause but as poverty is a multi dimensional problem, multiple factors are responsible for it. According to hennery George, the main cause of poverty is the personal ownership and monopoly of individual on the land. He writes “in great cities where land is so valuable that it is measured by foot you will find extreme of poverty and of luxury.” Marx said the main causes of poverty are the exploitation laborers by the capitalists. Malthus said, poverty increases because of the fact that, while the food production increases in arithmetical progression, the population increase in geometric progression. These views lay emphasis on a singular cause of poverty but modern social scientists consider that poverty is the result of multiple factors.
Personal factors play important role in economic status of a person. In this modern scientific era, one may not believe in the fate but no one can deny the importance of personal capacity and efforts in his life style and life pattern. The important personal factors cause poverty is as follows. i) Sickness:
Due to sickness a person is unable to work or his income decreases. A major portion of his income is spent on the cure of the diseases. Sickness increases poverty. Hunter has rightly pointed out that “Poverty and sickness form a vicious partnership each helping the other to add to the miseries of most unfortunate of mankind.”
ii) Mental disease:
Mental disease and frustration also increase poverty. Owing to this, a man looses the balance of his mind by which he is incapable of doing anything. So his family becomes poor and it aggravates poverty.
Accident of any kind may make a person incapable of working, as a result of which he becomes a parasite on society or his income decreases. When income decreases poverty increases.
iv) Idleness and extravagance:
India is a rich country inhabited by poor. Idle and lazy persons do not work although they are able to work. Hence they remain poor. There are also extravagant persons who can waste any amount of money in no time. So the cause of poverty is not the lower income but excess of expenditure over income. Such persons also spent lavishly during festive occasions like marriage ceremony, many social religious festivals etc, and they always remain poor.
Due to lower morale some person are addicted to drinking, prostitution, gambling and other social evils. Such persons spent high proportion of their income on these evil habits and finally become pauper.
Rapid growth of population is one of the most important causes of poetry. Malthus has pointed out that the geometric progress of population is the root cause of poverty. Due to the development of medical science, reduction of famine, control of epidemics and natural calamities death rate has decreased. At the same time birth rate has not been effectively controlled. If a man has too many children his standard of living is definitely lowered and he becomes relatively poor.” Besides, other factors like the power of fertility of Indian women, early age of marriage are also indirectly responsible for poverty.
Global Distribution of Resources
Many experts agree that the legacy of colonialism accounts for much of the unequal distribution of resources in the world economy. In many developing countries, the problems of poverty are massive and pervasive. In recent decades most of these countries have tried to develop their economies with industry and technology with varying levels of success. Some nations have become fairly wealthy, including the Republic of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
Many developing countries, however, lack essential raw materials and the knowledge and skills gained through formal education and training. They also often lack the infrastructure provided by, for example, transportation systems and power-generating facilities. Because these things are necessary for the development of industry, developing countries generally must rely on trade with developed countries for manufactured goods, but they cannot afford much.
Some social scientists argue that wealthier developed countries continue to practice a form of colonialism, known as neocolonialism. The affluence of these countries is based to a large extent on favorable trade with the developing world. Developed countries have been able to get inexpensive natural resources from poorer countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, including oil for power, ores and minerals for manufacturing durable goods, and manufactured goods made by low-wage workers in factories operated by multinational corporations. This practice contributes to the dependency of poorer countries while not raising their standards of living.
The most fundamental cause of poverty is economics. The important economical factors are as follows. i) Backwardness of agriculture:
Indian Agriculture is carried on with primitive techniques. Due to the absence of modern machines, tools, implements, improved seeds, manures, inadequate irrigation facilities, constant fragmentation of land and exploitation by the landlords etc. Agricultural production hampers to a great extent. Besides these our agricultural system is not sufficient to provide adequate number of jobs or better price for agricultural products. This increase poverty among the rural farmers. ii) Slow and defective industrialization:
In India industrialization is taking place at a snail’s pace, due to inadequate finance, paucity of skilled and technically trained personnel, irregular supply of power and raw materials etc. Therefore it is not possible in India to provide employment in large scale tot he persons who are willing to work. Further the concentration of industries in urban areas also deprives the rural poor from getting employment in industries. iii) Unequal distribution:
Distribution of wealth is unequal in India. Wealth is mostly concentrated in the hands of a few. These people after an optimum of investment keep the
wealth in iron chests. On the other hand, the people who would have invested it for productive purpose do not get it. This leaves a majority of population in this state of unemployment. iv) Unwise economic policy:
Indian is rich in respect of natural resources, but poor in making proper utilization of it. Till now we are not able to make optimum utilization of resources as a result of which it remains unutilized or misused. Sometimes due to defective policy of the government people remain poor. Psychological effects of poverty
Psychological research has demonstrated that living in poverty has a wide range of negative effects on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our nation’s children. Poverty impacts children within their various contexts at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods and communities. Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and under resourced schools which adversely impact our nation’s children.
Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socio emotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays. These effects are compounded by the barriers children and their families encounter when trying to access physical and mental health care. Economists estimate that child poverty costs an estimated $500 billion a year to the U.S. economy; reduces productivity and economic output by 1.3 percent of GDP; raises crime and increases health expenditure
Poverty and academic achievement
Poverty has a particularly adverse effect on the academic outcomes of children, especially during early childhood. Chronic stress associated with living in poverty has been shown to adversely affect children’s concentration and memory which may impact their ability to learn. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that in 2008, the dropout rate of students living in low-income families was about four and one-half times greater than the rate of children from higher-income families (8.7 percent versus 2.0 percent). The academic achievement gap for poorer youth is particularly pronounced for low-income African American and Hispanic children compared with their more affluent White peers.
Poverty and psychosocial outcomes
Children living in poverty are at greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems. Some behavioral problems may include impulsiveness, difficulty getting along with peers, aggression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder. Some emotional problems may include feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Poverty and economic hardship is particularly difficult for parents who may experience chronic stress, depression, marital distress and exhibit harsher parenting behaviors. These are all linked to poor social and emotional outcomes for children. Unsafe neighborhoods may expose low-income children to violence which can cause a number of psychosocial difficulties. Violence exposure can also predict future violent behavior in youth which places them at greater risk of injury and mortality and entry into the juvenile justice system.
Underresourced schools in poorer communities struggle to meet the learning needs of their students and aid them in fulfilling their potential. Inadequate education contributes to the cycle of poverty by making it more difficult for low-income children to lift themselves and future generations out of poverty.
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 in order to contribute to the family income, putting them at risk of being exploited, according to ECPAT International, an NGO designed to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. For example, in Zimbabwe, a number of girls are turning to prostitution for food to survive because of the increasing poverty.
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 have been found to be victims of violence, compared to 32% in Washington, DC (mean income for a household