Efforts have been made in this essay to introduce the concept of poverty by defining it in simple understandable language and commenting on the various aspects determining poverty. The main body of the essay, however, deals with the poverty issues prevalent in the United States; their causes and remedial measures, highlighting the government efforts to diminish and uproot poverty from the United States of America. What is Poverty? Poverty in literal words mean lack or no resource of income for leading a life or fulfilling wishes to stand by the standards of society.
People who face poverty lack of proper and essential facilities such as food, shelter, health, and proper medical care. In that these people suffer from a lot of diseases such as malnutrition and often it is the basis of their death too. Poverty also creates an inner feeling of inferiority complex and irritations or frustration. Many attempts have been done in regard to curb poverty by government and private institutions but howsoever the poverty ratio throughout the world is about 1 billion people. How Poverty is measured up? The exact definition of poverty varies from one community to another.
Most people define the term based on their unique cultures, lifestyles, and experiences. For example, many people who live in the United States believe they must have an automobile to live decently. Such people would consider themselves poor if they could not afford one. However, many people in less developed countries regard cars as luxuries. They would not consider the lack of a car a sign of poverty. Various Standards of Poverty Governments and organizations throughout the world have created their own standards to measure poverty. Poverty standards can be absolute or relative.
Absolute poverty standards are based on the amount of income needed to provide for life’s basic needs. People who have less than this amount are considered poor. Relative poverty standards measure how people’s incomes, resources, or lifestyles compare with those of others in the community. The use of poverty standards helps governments understand social conditions, evaluate economic policies, and carry out programs to help the poor. In the United States, Canada, and a number of other countries, poverty is measured according to yearly income.
In most such countries, households whose yearly incomes fall at or below a certain level—called the poverty level or poverty line—are considered poor. The value of the poverty line usually depends on the average cost of living. In the United States, for instance, the poverty line is based on the amount of income needed to allow households to eat adequately without spending more than a third of their income on food. The amount varies according to the size of the household and, in some cases, the ages of the people in the household.
The European Union (EU) uses a relative poverty standard. According to the EU standard, households whose incomes are less than 60 percent of the median income of their country are considered poor. The World Bank, an international organization that promotes economic development, uses a variety of methods to study poverty in less developed countries. The World Bank‘s definition of poverty includes any household that lives on less than one U. S. dollar per day. How is Poverty Rated? The percentage of the population that falls below the poverty standard is called the poverty rate.
The poverty rate tends to fall in times of strong economic growth and rise when the economy is weak. Since the 1960’s, the U. S. poverty rate has usually been between 12 and 15 percent. But many less developed countries have poverty rates higher than 20 percent. Differences in standards and definitions make it difficult to compare poverty rates from one country to another. Causes of Poverty The specific causes of poverty vary greatly from one person to another. A number of economic and social factors can make it difficult for people to earn a steady income and meet their basic needs.
Economic Cause One of the most important economic factors affecting poverty is the availability of jobs. Steady, well-paying jobs can be difficult for people to find and keep. When the economy is weak, businesses may be forced to lay off workers, leading to a rise in unemployment and poverty. Advances in technology may contribute to poverty among workers whose jobs are taken over by machines. Poverty also may strike a community when a major business moves away or closes, leaving workers jobless.
Inflation (a continuing increase in prices) can contribute to poverty by reducing the amount of goods that people can buy with a given amount of money. People whose incomes fail to keep pace with price increases can afford less and less. Social Cause Social factor also contribute to poverty. For example, a failing educational system can have a powerful effect on a community’s poverty rate. Many people who attend lower-quality schools lack the education and skills needed for certain jobs. The types of families that live in a community can also influence the poverty rate.
Studies have shown that single-parent families, especially those headed by females, usually have lower incomes and fewer resources than two-parent families. Some employers discriminate against workers based on race, ethnicity, or other characteristics. They may avoid hiring members of certain groups, or they may pay such people reduced wages. Many employers pay women less than they pay equally qualified men. Laws in many countries seek to prevent such unequal treatment. However, discrimination persists and contributes to poverty among certain groups.
Effects of Poverty People have many after effects of poverty on them. These people face lack of facilities, which are essential to lead a healthy and long life. Due to improper medical facilities these people mostly die at younger ages as compared to common people. Moreover, the shelter problem is one of the greatest. These people build their shaggy huts wherever they find some space either it is a fancy area or a shady place with litter and rubbish all around. Their homes have no proper sanitation, water , gas or electric facilities.
Moreover, the job opportunities they get are so cheap that their income is not enough for the huge families they lead. So many times these people when frustrated do those kind of illegal jobs that are harmful for their lives. Poverty Defined Within the US Perspective By virtue of another definition, poverty is a comprehensive but relative term that has wide range of meaning. Since it is not absolute but an abstract term, poverty cannot be defined precisely and hence cannot be measured up in figures. In other words there is no such yardstick or a calibrated scale to show the amount of poverty a person is inflicted with.
But since there is need to understand the various levels of poverty for its eradication, there has to be some major components as criteria for a person being in or out of poverty. This may involve simply measuring of some basic component of poverty and then comparing it to some random level. The most commonly used component is the ‘Salary’ of an individual, because this component is comparatively easier than other factors to measure and strike comparison between individuals as regard to the poverty level each possesses.
According to Simon Maxwell a definition of poverty, which he gave in his essay. About poverty except the people of USA, rest of all think that poverty in the USA is something earning below one US dollar per day. But to understand this definition it will be necessary to put out or suspend a lot of people from their jobs. Mostly employees of governmental institutions think that the definition of poverty in the USA is that the funds that are separated from the annual budget for curbing poverty are distributed among these people but not all of the fund is distributed.
Poverty Level in United States As far as it is concerned to poverty, the ratio is much high in the USA and is more conflicting to understand the matter of about 1 US dollar per day. In such kind of cases poverty cannot be measured so easily so now the question is that how can poverty be measured in such situation? Through thresholds, that are issued by the Census Bureau every year, the poverty level in the USA comes to knowledge.
This threshold annually tells that the amount, which is needed, is a little one to help those families who live below poverty line. The perception for the thresholds was introduced in the mid 1960’s to update the ratio of inflation every year and through coming years this system of thresholds has not yet been changed. In this system of threshold families that are regarded as poor are those whose earnings are not enough for the fulfilling of proper facilities such as medical aid, food, shelter, clothes and sanitation and health insurances.