How is poverty measured?

Poverty is measured in the United States by comparing a person’s or family’s income to a set poverty threshold or minimum amount of income needed to cover basic needs. People whose income falls under their threshold are considered poor.

The U.S. Census Bureau is the government agency in charge of measuring poverty. To do so, it uses two main measures, the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure, both of which are described in this FAQ.

Official Poverty Measure

The Census Bureau determines poverty status by using an official poverty measure (OPM) that compares pre-tax cash income against a threshold that is set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963 and adjusted for family size.

The OPM uses calculations of these three elements—income, threshold, and family—to estimate what percentage of the population is poor.

The official poverty estimates are drawn from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), which is conducted in February, March, and April with a sample of approximately 100,000 addresses per year.

In 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, the OPM national poverty rate was 12.7 percent. There were 40.6 million people in poverty.

The CPS ASEC questionnaire asks about income from more than 50 sources and records up to 27 different income amounts. Income is defined by the OPM to include, before taxes, the following sources:

The OPM does not include as income noncash government benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and housing assistance.

Poverty thresholds, the minimum income needed to avoid poverty, are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index , and adjusted for family size, composition, and age of householder.

OPM thresholds do not vary geographically.* In 2016, the OPM poverty threshold for a family of four was $24,339.

Poverty thresholds serve different purposes, including tracking poverty over time, comparing poverty across different demographic groups, and as the starting point for determining eligibility for a range of federal assistance programs.

(To learn more about using the poverty thresholds, or their administrative counterpoint, the poverty guidelines, for determining program eligibility, see FAQ: What are poverty thresholds and poverty guidelines? )

* The Census Bureau cautions that the thresholds should be interpreted as a “statistical yardstick” rather than as a complete accounting of how much income people need to live. They were intended to define and quantify poverty in America and to record changes in the number of persons and families in poverty and their characteristics over time.

Family is defined by the OPM as a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption who reside together. All such people (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family.

In 1959, when the official government poverty series began, poverty was estimated at 22 percent. Before that time, unofficial estimates by researchers found a poverty rate in 1914 of 66 percent; 78 percent in 1932; 32 percent in 1947; and 24 percent in 1958.**

Figure 1 shows more recent poverty rates, in 1968, 1990, and 2016, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, using the OPM.

Figure 1. Official U.S. poverty rates in 1968, 1990, and 2016 show variation by age and racial/ethnic group and over time

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** R. D. Plotnick, E. Smolensky, E. Evenhouse, and S. Reilly, “The Twentieth-Century Record of Inequality and Poverty in the United States,” in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, Vol. 3, eds. S. L. Engerman and R. E. Gallman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 249-299; G. Fisher, “Estimates of the Poverty Population under the Current Official Definition for Years before 1959,” mimeograph, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1986.

The Census Bureau releases the results of their analysis using the OPM every year in a report called Income and Poverty in the United States . The report includes charts and tables on information such as the following:

To learn more about the official poverty measure, see the Census Bureau discussion, “How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty,” and the infographic, “ How Census Measures Poverty .”

Researchers and policymakers have long called for changes to the official poverty measure for a number of reasons. However, in spite of its shortcomings, detailed below, its salience in policymaking is noted by the economists Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan:

Few economic indicators are more closely watched or more important for policy than the official poverty rate. The poverty rate is often cited by policymakers, researchers, and advocates who are evaluating social programs that account for more than half a trillion dollars in government spending.

Principal criticisms of the OPM include:

While the official measure remains the official national poverty statistic, the Census Bureau has been estimating poverty using a number of experimental measures as well, since the mid-1990s. See Poverty: Experimental Measures on the Census Bureau’s website for more about these approaches.

The most recent and prominent experimental measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure—a work-in-progress that supplements but does not replace the official measure—is discussed below.

Supplemental Poverty Measure

The Census Bureau introduced the Supplemental Poverty Measure or SPM in 2010 to provide an alternative view of poverty in the United States that better reflects life in the 21st century, including contemporary social and economic realities and government policy.

As its name suggests, the SPM supplements but does not replace the official poverty measure, which remains the nation’s source for official poverty statistics and for determining means-tested program eligibility.

In a side-by-side comparison of the official poverty measure and the SPM, the Census Bureau notes their differences in measurement units, poverty threshold, threshold adjustments (e.g., by family size), updating thresholds, and what counts as resources, summarized in Table 3 below.

Source: L. Fox, “The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2016,” Current Population Reports P60-261 (RV), Revised September 2017.

Note: “Family” as defined by the Census Bureau is “a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together; all such people (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family.”

A comparison of official and SPM poverty rates in 2016 for the total population and among three age groups: under age 18, adults ages 18 to 64, and elders age 65 and over, is shown in Figure 2.

For most groups, SPM poverty rates were higher than official poverty rates; children are an exception with 15.2 percent poor using the SPM and 18.0 percent poor using the official measure. Analysts attribute the lower SPM child poverty rate largely to the measure’s inclusion of noncash benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) benefits.

The much higher SPM poverty rates for people age 65 and older—14.5 percent vs. 9.3 percent using the OPM—partially reflect that the official thresholds are set lower for families with householders in this age group, while the SPM thresholds do not vary by age.

In addition, the SPM rate is higher for people age 65 and older because it includes out-of-pocket medical expenditures, which are typically high for the elderly, whereas the official measure does not take them into account.

Figure 2. Poverty rates using OPM and SPM measures for total population and by age group, 2016, show a higher OPM child poverty rate and higher SPM elderly poverty rates.

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Poverty in the US: Causes and Measures Essay

Introduction, measures of poverty, causes of poverty, fight against poverty.

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The existence of poverty in the United States (U.S.) is considered a paradox. The U.S. is one of the world’s richest countries and is regarded as the only economic superpower. Despite such lofty distinctions, poverty in the U.S. exists. The government has recognized this reality and is doing measures to reduce the figures. In addition, the entities in the country work hand in hand to ensure that poverty is reduced. Programs and projects are created to address the specific needs of poor communities. The fight against poverty is an unending task. It requires policies, cooperation, and sustenance. Poverty in the U.S. is referred to a household that accumulates income below the poverty level (U.S. Census, 2003). In essence, poverty is a condition that deprives individuals of acquiring the necessities required to meet the minimum standard of well-being and life. The government has set a poverty line that measures the capacity of families to satisfy their daily needs. This line is equated with other economic indicators such as price and inflation. The measurement determined by the government is equal to three times the annual cost of a nutritionally sufficient diet. At present, the poverty rate in the U.S. is estimated at approximately 12.3%. This means that 36.5 million Americans are classified as poor. But the parameters used by the United Nations measure poverty in the U.S. at around 17%. The incidence of poverty among individuals below 18 years old is high compared with individuals who are 18 to 64 years old. In 2006, the poverty rates for the respective age groups are 17.4% and 10.8% (CIA Factbook, 2007).

The government uses three measures to determine the poverty level. The Census Bureau is tasked to provide the poverty threshold. These figures are used for statistical analysis. Usually, the Bureau uses the data to classify the clusters and areas where poverty exists. Moreover, the Department of Health and Human Services handles the poverty figures for administrative purposes (Health and Human Services, 2007). The agency determines the individuals in dire need of assistance from the government. Both offices work to ascertain the accuracy of the information and the extent of aid needed. Another measure of poverty is used by the Office of Management and Budget. The agency derives its figures from the “Orshansky Poverty Threshold”. This was developed by Mollie Orshansky who once worked for the Social Security Administration (Social Security Agency, 2007). The data is used to determine the budget to be allocated to fight poverty. The Department of Agriculture also has its version of the poverty level. The agency develops the economy food plan which determines the least costly food plans. This is vital because it is used as the basis for food creation. Food security is a major issue attached to poverty. In 2002, the U.S. stated that 89% of the population has full access to food. The other households were determined to have inconsistent food sources throughout the year. The incidence of poverty in the U.S. is at times cyclical. Some families earn income only at certain periods. This means that the distribution of the resources is an imbalance to satisfy the needs of the families.

There are several reasons why poverty exists. The most common cause is the individual’s lack of skills to acquire employment. An individual must have a job to earn. Aside from the skills, educational attainment is another major consideration. Education is often a requirement when looking for employment. In addition, disability can also cause an individual to experience poverty. Disabled individuals are more often segregated from the physically capable. This form of social bias deprives physically impaired individuals of acquiring the same privileges enjoyed by others. One of the most talked-about issues in the U.S. is the prevalence of illegal immigration (Rector, 2006). For some foreigners, U.S. is viewed as the “land of milk honey”. Hence several foreign individuals try to transfer to the U.S. hoping to uplift their lives. Unfortunately, this has become a big problem for the government. The increase in population has also stretched the budget requirements needed to address poverty. Some foreigners are perceived to take away the services provided by the government to the locals. Instead of changing their statuses, these immigrants worsen their already poor state. The social condition is also linked to the existence of poverty. Communities with high crime rates are usually occupied by poor families. Crime is considered an option for individuals who find it difficult to earn in conventional ways (Harris, 2006). Discrimination is another social issue that causes poverty. Preference of race and religion can often determine the jobs that most individuals try to acquire.

Solving poverty requires solid programs and sustained efforts. One of the most used methods to solve poverty is to increase the wages received by individuals. This will expand their buying power and allow households to purchase their necessities. In addition, the government can also reduce the tax rates on households receiving low income. The government needs to sacrifice the income from taxes and directly give the benefits to earners. Aside from the income tax, the government can also reduce the tax imposed on basic goods and services that are usually acquired by low-earning households. The government has to extend its social services and focus on these poor individuals. Provision of necessities such as free education and healthcare are musts (Center for American Progress, 2007). Allocating a huge chunk of the budget on poverty alleviation has to be done. The government can temporarily alter its funds for non-priorities to fights against poverty. The government needs to address fiscal balance to ensure that poverty is addressed. It has to be noted that resources are needs to ensure that social services are delivered. Moreover, the government has to start pushing on job creation. It has to start by making policies that provide incentives for companies that will expand in depressed areas. The government can facilitate industrial growth through the provision of infrastructures and the expansion of communication arteries. Communities must be developed and made accessible to these firms. Employing these poor individuals is a good start to address poverty. This will allow these households to participate in the actual economic process. Aside from fiscal policies, there are certain monetary policies that the government can pursue. The reduction of the interest of government loans is a good option. This will allow poor individuals to have access to government financing. Apart from being employees, poor households can plan of being entrepreneurs. Although the government is not advised to intervene on prices, it can provide measures to limit the exposure of poor households to high-priced commodities (Walls, 2007). The government can provide its goods that can compete against commercially produced products.

Poverty is undeniably a concern for the U.S. Despite the daunting task head, poverty can be reduced and eventually eliminated. Several strategies can be manifested. But these strategies have to revolve around the social, political, and economic aspects of the country. The social issues involve the elimination of prejudices related to race and religion. All American has to gain equal access to basic services regardless of ethnic origin. In the economic aspect, the government has to provide both fiscal and monetary measures to strengthen the distribution of wealth. Politically, leaders have to manifest their full power to ensure that equality is present in their respective jurisdictions. But the government needs help in fighting against poverty. The private sector has to continually expand and create more employment opportunities. In addition, all Americans have to cooperate with these policies. The synergy of these aspects is needed to finally end the incidence of poverty in the U.S.

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Poverty: Causes and Reduction Measures

Measurements of poverty, causes of poverty, poverty reduction measures.

The eradication of extreme poverty by the year 2015 was one of the millennium development goals that the United Nations member states committed to, during the signing of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. While many countries have made significant progress toward the attainment of the goal, many are still struggling with poverty. Approximately 10 percent of the global population live in extreme poverty while about 50 percent survive on less than $2.50 a day (Atkinson, 2019). This means that poverty is a global disaster and that a large percentage of the population has insufficient income or material possessions to satisfy their basic needs. Governments and non-governmental organizations do their best to fight poverty. However, more needs to be done, especially in developing countries where poor governance, corruption, and political instability impede the war against extreme poverty.

Poverty is defined as the inability to earn sufficient income and possess productive resources to sustain one’s livelihood. It manifests in various ways, including hunger, poor health, limited access to basic human needs, and social discrimination (Ravallion, 2016). The term “poverty” can be used differently, depending on the context. Absolute poverty is characterized by scarcity and suffering. People in this group barely have access to shelter, food, and decent housing (Mood & Jonsson, 2015). Relative poverty is viewed as a social construct, and therefore, it is a measure of income inequality. People in this group can meet their basic needs, but fail to fulfill the requirements for median income classification. Their earnings are insufficient for them to afford the average standard of living as defined in their society or country.

According to the World Bank’s 2017 statistics, more than 736 million people lived below the international poverty line, meaning that they survived on less than $1.9 a day (as cited in Atkinson, 2019). In 2018, approximately 8 percent of the working population lived in extreme poverty. Roughly 10 percent of the population cannot afford to meet their basic needs such as access to health care, proper sanitation, and education (Atkinson, 2019). Research studies conducted to evaluate the effect of conflict on poverty have revealed that by year 2030, approximately 75 percent of the world’s extremely poor population will be living in conflict-affected situations (Atkinson, 2019). This means that despite the ongoing efforts to eliminate severe poverty, the situation could deteriorate if governments do not address the issue of conflict and political instability.

Poverty is not only present in developing regions such as Africa and Asia, but also in developed countries such as the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. The US is a developed nation, and therefore wealthy, based on international standards. However, occurrences such as the Great Depression and the Great Recession have ensured that poverty constantly afflicts a portion of its population. For instance, 38 million Americans live in poverty, which means that their annual income falls below the $25,750 mark (Atkinson, 2019). The concept of poverty is defined differently in various societies, and is dependent primarily on one’s income level.

The main causes of poverty include lack of education, inequality and marginalization, political instability, conflict, lack of infrastructure, and inadequate access to clean water and food. Political instability and conflict cause displacement that force people to abdicate their assets in search for peace. Moreover, wars lead to massive destruction of property and infrastructure. For example, around 70 percent of Syria’s population live in extreme poverty, even though poverty levels were very low prior to the conflicts (Mood & Jonsson, 2015). Gender, economic, and social inequality creates unequal access to resources, thus denying some people the opportunity to improve the quality of their lives. Lack of education is another cause of poverty. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) argues that the possessions of basic reading skills could help more than 170 million people to eradicate extreme poverty in their lives. Climate change is a critical issue that has adverse effects. For instance, it has the potential to cause flooding and drought, both of which can have adverse effects on agriculture (Mood & Jonsson, 2015). The World Bank has stated that climate change has the potential to push 100 million people into poverty in the next decade if mitigation measures are not put in place. Poor infrastructure limits access to healthcare facilities, markets, and social amenities, and isolates certain populations (Ravallion, 2016). Isolation limits access to opportunities, thus keeping people in poverty.

One of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the eradication of poverty in all its forms. In that regard, this will be attained through the mobilization of resources that will facilitate the implementation of programs and policies in order to promote poverty eradication. Poverty can be eradicated through the creation of sound policy frameworks that promote equal access to resources and opportunities for advancement (Heshmati, 2017). Equality and representation for all would ensure that all groups participate in decision-making processes and present their ideas on matters of national importance. Governments should invest more in infrastructure, increase access to education, and improve access to clean water, food, and security (Heshmati, 2017). Proper governance is another solution to ending poverty. This means the elimination of war, conflicts, and corruption, and the creation of jobs.

In developing economies, more engagement in trade, the creation and implementation of economic development policies, and increased access to education and health care are important. Studies have indicated that a 10 percent increase in a nation’s average income has the potential to alleviate poverty by about 20 percent (Heshmati, 2017). Trade is a key factor in the growth of any economy. Therefore, governments should enter into trade partnership with other countries, support local businesses that export products and services, and encourage direct foreign investment (Ravallion, 2016). In countries like the US, poverty can be eradicated by creating more employment opportunities, increasing access to health care, and fighting vices like racism, gender inequality, and sex-based discrimination. It is important for the government to ensure that all people enjoy equal access to resources and services (Heshmati, 2017). For example, limited access to medical care affects the productivity of the people, and thus, keeps poor people poor.

Poverty is a global challenge that has adverse effects. Billions of people live below the international poverty line and struggle to meet their basic needs. Many countries, especially in developing economies have made significant progress with regard to eradicating extreme poverty. However, more needs to be done because the situation could get worse if corruption, poor governance, and political instability persist. Poverty can be reduced through increased access to opportunities, resources, and social amenities, elimination of poor leadership, creation of more jobs, and the development of better infrastructure. Moreover, it is important for governments to facilitate trade, create and implement policies that promote equality, and provide quality health care and education to citizens.

Atkinson, A. B. (2019). Measuring poverty around the world . Princeton University Press.

Heshmati, A. (Ed.). (2017). Economic transformation for poverty reduction in Africa: A  multidimensional approach . Taylor & Francis.

Mood, C., & Jonsson, J. O. (2015). “The social consequences of poverty: An empirical test on longitudinal data.” Social Indicators Research, 127 (1), 633-652.

Ravallion, M. (2016). The economics of poverty: History, measurement, and policy . Oxford University Press.

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Poverty in the United States

Poverty in the united states is an existing problem for American society despite being a first-world country. In 2020, the U.S. had an estimated 37.2 million people living in poverty. Poverty needs more resources to meet basic needs such as food, housing, water, clothing, and healthcare. People cannot access these needs for different reasons, such as debt traps, inflation, unemployment, poor education, income inequality, and other socio-economic and political issues. The U.S. is prone to these factors, which means that poverty continues to prevail even in the 21 st  century. Thus, the focus of this essay is to highlight two significant aspects of poverty in the U.S.

Income is one of the main aspects of poverty influencing most other aspects. Income originated from employment or other forms of investment for most Americans. Income constantly determines the poverty level because it determines the quality of life a population can afford (Percheski, 2019). While a large population has remained employed between 2010 and 2020, about 37,000 Americans have remained below the poverty line. It means that despite a large part of the population being employed, other socio-economic factors impact income resulting in constant poverty. For example, the income data from the 2015-2016 fiscal year show a 3.2 increase in household income, manifested by a 2.2 million increase in full-time workers. As a result, the poverty level declined by 0.8%, which saw the poverty rate fall to about 12.7% (Fontenot et al., 2017). The data show that despite the high employment rate, the decline levels in the poverty rate are minimal.

The income rate has, however, been impacted by income inequality on race, sex, and class, which impact income rates, wealth, and living standards. In addition, the rising living standards and inflation impact the poverty level, especially in places like California. According to Grusky et al. (2015), the poverty levels in California are the perfect representation the income-related poverty in the U.S. Many families in California live just under the poverty rate. For example, an estimated 22% of Californians were living below the poverty rate in 2011. The high living standard due to economic policies in California has continuously caused a large part of the population to remain below the poverty line. Despite the high employment rate from 2013, the income of about a fifth of the Californian population remains insufficient for a quality life.

There is a continued push for the legal minimum wage across the U.S. to get to $15 per hour as the cost of living increases. About a quarter of the American population remains unskilled, meaning that they are employed in the minimum wage category, which pushes most of them to work multiple jobs to meet the cost of living. An estimated 75% of people working in the private sector work two or more jobs, resulting in most Americans working more than 14 hours per day. The income levels remain lower for most American compared to the needs forcing them to find a better way to compensate for income shortages (Percheski, 2019). Working double shifts is a common trend among many Americans trying to make ends meet.

Homelessness remains a significant aspect of poverty in the U.S. Lack of shelter today has been seen as an element of measuring the poverty rate. Before 2007, many people in the U.S. were on their way to owning homes, and many were on mortgage plans to pay for their houses. However, after the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis emanating from the housing finance sector, the number of homeless people rose by 30% (Fontenot et al., 2017). Although the number significantly improved years after the recession, over 20% of the population still needs access to quality housing because of the ever-rising housing cost.

Lack of housing has been a part of poverty as homeless people do not have access to the monetary resources to pay for rent or mortgages. While housing is a part of poverty, it impacts many other poverty aspects, such as security, health, food, and much more. The high cost of housing in Urban areas in the major cities across the U.S. has seen the number of homeless people rise sharply, especially in places like California, Washington, and New York. The situation has been associated with the rising cost of housing, institutionalized inequality, and the constant income rate and the business cycle, which impact the ability of people to pay for housing. According to Quigley and Raphael (2004), the rising cost of housing has been a significant cause of poverty and homelessness across the metropolitan regions in the U.S. The housing and urban planning data indicate a rise in housing prices between 1995 to 2002 in places like San Francisco by 65%, Boston by 62%, San Diego by 54 and Denver by 49%. Since then, housing prices have almost tripled, which has been associated with inflation and housing scarcity in these cities due to the increase in population.

California has been identified as among the state with the most homeless people. In large cities in California, such as Los Angeles, the tax policy change has increased the cost of living. In addition, the high cost of living associated with housing costs has forced more families into the streets like no other city in the U.S. As mentioned above, California is a rich state but has rising poverty, and one of the signs of poverty is the level of homelessness (Grusky et al.,2015). Homelessness in California mirrors American society, with most people today unable to afford proper housing in major cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Consequently, people are migrating from major cities, trying to find a living in smaller cities where they can afford a quality of life.

The housing aspects of poverty is a complex because it is both a causative and a consequence of poverty. For homeless families, low income contributes to the inability to afford a home, which is seen as poverty and causes the family to lack shelter. Consequently, kids born into homeless families see homelessness as a result of poverty. The complex correlation between poverty and housing creates a complex cycle of hardships. As a result, housing has become a policy playground, with the government aiming to lower the cost of housing. Housing prices, however, continue to rise each decade with the rising inflation rates.

Despite the first-world status of the U.S., the country’s poverty level remains high compared to other first-world countries, highlighted by the income and housing problems. Income is a crucial determinant of poverty status as a majority of minimum wage household fall in the low-income class while a minority fall in the middle and high-class earners. Consequently, about a tenth of the American population’s income needs to meet their needs resulting in high poverty rates impacting life quality. Homelessness in urban areas indicates the rising poverty level and the gap between the rich and the poor. The rising housing prices have contributed to people living on the streets and in their cars, living on food aid which constantly impacts the quality of life. However, as income and housing continuously remain a problem in the U.S., poverty aspects are highly interconnected. It is impossible to highlight two causes and effects as the poverty cycle creates a circular flow of highly integrated aspects ranging from income, dependency, needs, business cycles, health, housing, inequality, and education, among many other aspects.

Quigley, J. M., & Raphael, S. (2004). Is housing unaffordable? Why isn’t it more affordable?  Journal of Economic Perspectives ,  18 (1), 191–214.

Grusky, D., CoDDou, M., CuMBErworth, E., Fisher, J., Furuta, J., Hill, J., … & Wright, R. (2015). Why is there so much poverty in California? The causes of California’s sky-high poverty and the evidence behind the equal opportunity plan for reducing It.

Fontenot, K., Semega, J., & Kollar, M. (2018). Income and poverty in the United States: 2017.  Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office .

Percheski, C. (2019). Income and Earnings.  Age ,  20 (25), 30.

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Poverty is one of the global problems which requires taking economic and financial measures not to have deplorable results. Causes of poverty may be hidden in unemployment, lack of money, hunger, governmental policy, and other issues that negatively impact people’s level of life. Residents of developed countries like America may also face poverty due to high taxes, unwillingness to work, or social conditions.

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Poverty is a common social issue that has troubled nations for thousands of years. While nations like the United States of America have worked diligently to eradicate it domestically, it still widely exists internationally. The following essay on poverty presents a few arguments from prominent scholars regarding solutions to poverty and should prove especially valuable to those readers considering buying an essay for their own use. Take note how this writer has stressed the importance of noting that while the challenges facing poverty are daunting, the solutions are feasible and can happen.

Poverty: A multifaceted issue

Poverty has been a consistent problem throughout history. No matter what the median income, unemployment or overall prosperity level is, there will always be people who are homeless and hungry. Despite being one of the most prosperous countries in the world, the United States is not immune to it either. Even today, there are still people struggling to find shelter, feed their kids and find warm clothing. For children, growing up in poverty conditions can have adverse effects that last a lifetime. This social problem has various impacts on different institutions and people. However, there are feasible solutions that are available to alleviate this social problem. In discussing poverty in the United States, the following essay utilizes three major perspectives: the general condition, the emerging middle class poverty and the relationship between small businesses and strategic measures to alleviate poverty. 

World poverty rates (millions)

As you can see, there are over a billion people living in poverty around the world.

America's stagnant poverty line

According to Howard Glennerster in "United States Poverty Studies and Poverty Measurement: The Past Twenty-Five Years," poverty has been a steady condition in United States history. Not only that, but today there is even more discussion focused on the “culture and race of poverty” (Glennerster, 10). More and more aid seems to be going to minorities in which there is a high density (such as African-American or Hispanic communities). Moreover, the attention has also been placed on women on welfare ( click here to read about how poverty impacts teen pregnancy rates). This segment of the population has retracted to working multiple jobs while taking care of children (Glennerster, 13). Therefore, in the mainstream sense of the term, Glennerster attributed a majority poverty related issues to minorities and single mothers. This mainstream analysis indicates the general level of poverty that is evident in most countries as well.

Homeless couple with dog in San Francisco, CA - photographed by Franco Folini.

Allan Singer, in "Business Strategy and Poverty Alleviation," focused on the issue of poverty with regard to small business owners who don’t have these social problems integrated with their own interests. For instance, he boldly claims that “entrepreneurs and corporations overwhelmingly do not view the alleviation of global poverty as a strategic priority” (Singer, 225). Essentially, personal interests overcome the need to help others. Interestingly enough, Singer does not label poverty as a lack of income or assets, but an issue of “capability-deprivation” because of the circumstances some people are born under (Singer 226). Singer views this perspective as an unfair facet because people do not have control over their futures based on sociological limitations of their location or demographic ( read more about how unemployment impacts young adults). Finally, he placed emphasis on the role of government and businesses to alleviate this issue.

Blaming the recent economic crisis

Finally, Stephanie Chen, in "The New Hungry: College-Educated, Middle-Class Cope With Food Insecurity," maintains her position on poverty from the perspective of a recently bogged down economy . She argued that “more than 50 million American were living in a food insecure home at some point in 2009” (Chen, 1). She compares this to the 36 million in 2006. The main dilemma that these poverty stricken individuals face is whether to pay their mortgages or put food on the table. Surely, Chen focuses her discussion not on the minorities or single mothers, but on the working class families that are struggling. Her evidence comes from the hundreds of food banks across the country that is struggling to meet demands from various areas of the spectrum from the homeless to the middle class (Chen, 2). 

These three perspectives offer a wide range of social problems resulting from poverty . For instance, Glennerster’s perspective on minorities places the blame like a laser beam of Hispanics and African-Americans. As a result, the widely launched government aid programs were targeted towards these minorities (Glennerster, 10). Consequently, this raises the larger issue of generalization and racism. If the country’s resources are being utilized for a specific segment of the population, then it singles them out for extraneous scrutiny by those not reaping the tax payer benefits.

Moreover, since small businesses (even custom writing services like Ultius ) are the primary catalysts of jobs, Singer argues that the major consequences of greedy business owners are that they are not helping the job creation process enough (Singer, 226). Also, this process also puts duress on governments to intervene either positively or negatively to encourage businesses to foster job creation. Finally, the middle class poverty issue is primarily affecting the local state and city governments that are under pressure to fund and supply food banks for people that don’t have the means to do so (Chen, 3). Therefore, the issue of poverty under these perspectives influences not only local and state governments, businesses, but also people’s attitudes towards those suffering from poverty. 

Big liberal government as solution to poverty

The solutions presented by all three articles indicate that government intervention is the solution. For instance, Glennerster cited that poverty management over the past twenty-five years has been alleviated by government programs targeted towards specific demographics (Glennerster, 14). He also offered solutions by enhancing education levels in order to promote a long term solution. Conversely, Singer argued that since governments have control over tax payer dollars and small businesses have control over job creation; the solution would be derived from the synergy of these two institutions working together (Singer, 227). Furthermore, by utilizing funding and coordinating business strategy to help alleviate poverty, the cooperative partnerships between these two entities would surely help promote long term job growth. Finally, while Chen doesn’t offer a direct solution, the context of middle class poverty reflects that only short term support is needed. Therefore, by helping food banks and local city governments push through enhanced demand for the short term, this would suffice until a long term solution has been found.

The evidence suggests that these solutions would, in time improve the social condition of poverty. By first focusing on short term alleviation through food banks and local city support, the immediate issue of feeding people would be met. For the long-term, the government would play a very influential role in helping stimulate employment (like through community education ). This would require the help and partnership of small businesses with interests that align with the federal government. Finally, as long as short term aid is readily replaceable with long term solutions, poverty can be eliminated.

The following sample essay on poverty was brought to you by Ultius, the platform that matches you with qualified freelance writers for editing and essay writing services .

Works Cited

Glennerster, Howard. "United States Poverty Studies and Poverty Measurement: The Past Twenty-Five Years." The Social Service Review 76.1 (2002): 1-26. JSTOR. Web. 7 Mar. 2011.<>

Singer, Alan. "Business Strategy and Poverty Alleviation." Journal of Business Ethics 66.2/3 (2006): 225-231. JSTOR . Web. 7 Mar. 2011.<>

Chen, Stephanie. “The New Hungry: College-Educated, Middle-Class Cope With Food Insecurity.” CNN . 13 Dec. 2010. CNN. 7 Mar. 2011. <>

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Poverty Essay Examples

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Opinion Essay on Poverty

Effect of covid-19 on poverty.

Poverty is referred to as the condition of not being able to meet basic needs like food, water, and shelter. It is present in every country, to varying degrees, and is unlikely to disappear any time soon. The United States, which is regarded as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is no exception either. 

The country has been battling poverty issues for a long time, and as of the 2019 census, there are 34 million people who live in poverty. This stands as a testament to the statement made by Ronald Reagan – “We fought a war on poverty and poverty won.”

When looking at the US poverty history, one sees that it recorded its highest poverty rate in the late 1950s, at 22%. Over the years, the rate declined steadily, hitting a low of 11.1% in 1973. However, the rate soared to nearly 15%, i.e., three times – in 1983, 1993, and 2011 before hitting an all-time low of 10.5% (in 2019).

However, things quickly turned sour due to Covid-19 in 2020. The pandemic hammered the economy of the US, increasing unemployment and poverty. According to the center, the poverty rate peaked at 17.3% in August 2020 and fell to 16% two months later.

The recent figures confirm that the recession hit those at the bottom of the economic ladder the hardest. In other words, the rift between the rich and poor became even broader. 

Census Bureau figures released on September 14, 2021, reveal that “Americans living below the poverty line pegged at US$26,695 for a family of four have been increased by 1%.” Though this is only a small percentage, some Americans lost their incomes in 2020, and the nation’s income inequality worsened.

In addition to this, the Census Bureau’s additional data indicate that poorer households are having more difficulty rebounding from the recession.

The report also revealed that the share of aggregate income generated in the country – for the lowest-income households fell by 3.4%. In comparison, it increased by 0.7% for the highest-income households.

Another indicator that low-income workers were hit the hardest in 2020 was that 53% of all jobs lost were held by people making less than $34,000 per year.

It is uncertain whether these inequality-intensifying trends will continue into 2021. However, adding more injury, low-wage employment fell by 21% in June 2021 over January 2020. At the same time, high-income employment rose by 9.6%.

However, the US government rose to the challenge and introduced several policies to support the economy and relief for those affected by the disaster. In addition to fiscal stimulus, the Federal Reserve took a series of significant monetary stimulus measures.

The overall impact of these supports is noticeable in the Supplemental Poverty Measure rate, which takes additional sources of income into account. 

The Census reports that the supplemental poverty rate would have reached 12.7% if not for the relief and stimulus packages implemented between March 2020 and the end of the year. However, it stood at only 9.1%, 2.6 percentage points lower than it otherwise would have been.

Thus, it can be concluded that things would have been worse if not for the relief measures that the Government implemented.

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Defining Poverty and Approaches to Development

Date published: 11 Oct 2022

Format: Harvard

Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 1932

Downloads: 0

This essay argues that being poor does not concern the level of an individual’s income or expenditure, but rather, how individuals perceive themselves. The essay first describes and compares the meaning of poverty based on the different scholarly approaches to defining and measuring poverty. It notes that significant global efforts to reduce poverty have not been matched by a successful definition of what constitutes poverty. The essay further discusses that how different agencies measure poverty is critical to how they perceive poverty. From the definitions of poverty discussed in this essay, it is notable that monetary definitions of poverty could be biased, which is why the best parameters should stem from the status of individuals’ lives. 

There are many different approaches to explain poverty, which can be confusing. For example, if the meaning of poverty is taken to be the amount of money one has in their wallet or bank account, the number of the world’s poor could be surprisingly higher than previous estimates. The World Bank estimates that the global population of poor people is about 1.44 billion people ( Jolliffe, and Prydz 2015: 1). Nevertheless, a study done by NOBEL LAUREATE Amartya Sen (1976) raises the number to 1.71 billion. The discrepancies arise because different people and agencies measure poverty using different indicators. Researchers from Oxford University’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (2015) published a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which measures poverty using different factors from those of the World Bank. The two agencies are mainly focused on factors related to standards of living, which scale from sanitation and the state of household flooring to child mortality rates and the years taken in school. Whereas the World Bank’s measure relies on income and concludes that any person who earns less than $1.25 a day is miserable ( Jolliffe and Prydz 2015: 1). Sen (1976: 35) rejects that standard, arguing that if one were to go by the World Bank’s standards, only 39 percent of the population of Ethiopia, for instance, would be considered indigent; using MPI calculations, the figure would be 90 percent. The differences between the two approaches make it difficult for different stakeholders to efficiently allocate resources among the global poor because there is no agreement on who is poor. Consequently, no single entity could claim to have an accurate method of measuring poverty. And, importantly, the differences suggest that how different people view poverty is relative. 

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The most commonly used approach to describe poverty is the monetary approach which defines poor people as those people who fall below a set consumption or income line (Laderchi 2000: 33),. The different elements of income or expenditure are assessed at market value. The method assumes that with balanced and devised tools, steady financial measures can accommodate all factors and traits among people and situations. This approach further posits that every person is always spending or thinking about spending on something. Poverty is then taken to be a shortage under several set low scale of income The critical concern, however, is to try to differentiate the poor from the wealthy and whether this can be done without bias. Despite a variety of proposed technical solutions, the monetary approaches proposed have yet to devise a principle of poverty that could better demarcate the wealthy from the poor. 

However, through collective political agreement, relative poverty lines can be established. In many countries, poor people are said to be those who rely entirely on government resources ( Alkire and Santos, 2014: 365 ). Such people take their children to public schools, seek medical attention in public health facilities, and use general means of transport, among other indicators. According to Alkire and Santos (2014), t his view is based largely on the experiences of people in developed countries and may not apply to people in developing countries. Some scholars suggest that the poverty line should be described as the level below a set scale known as the poverty level of interest (Ravallion, 2016). But, the principle of a low scale of interest is undetermined. Ravallion (2016) proposes two ways of dealing with this issue: one method is what he calls the ‘Food Energy Intake Method’, which lays a poverty line basing on nutritional factors; the second one is a ‘cost of a basic needs’ scale (p. 230). Yet, in some monetary approaches, the Poverty line is set on the basis on nutritional requirements. However, differences in size, gender, age, activities, and metabolic rates show that ‘sufficient’ nutrition differs widely; therefore setting a specific minimum level of nutrition to measure poverty is problematic. The capability approach could provide a better method to describe who is who and who is not poor. 

Sen (1976) supports the capability approach. He argues that development will be viewed as the broadening of human abilities and it was not pioneered by the optimal fulfillment of utility or money income. Sen reject s the monetary approach in favor of liberty to be alive based on values. In Sen’s model, poverty is defined as the inability to reach specific primary capabilities in which the first abilities are explained as the lack of capacity to accomplish some vital functioning up to certain minimally sufficient levels. The capability approach rejects utility for measuring the welfare of individuals. Sen further criticizes the ethical building stones of utility and argues that the only way of using a utilitarian approach is to have it in a concept of interest viewed as ‘desire fulfillment.' Individuals should be allowed to take part in social evaluations that ignore factors, such as their physical appearance, and that affect their quality of life. People can see themselves as contented despite being in poor states and having desires guided by the possibility of acquiring a better life. The capability approach gives a sense of choice to individuals to live lives that they deem valuable to their own standards. People usually have different potential and therefore it would be fair if they are given the freedom to choose their standards of fulfillment. Money and possessions are taken to be the only means of enhancing well-being and not the parameters for measuring the scale of poverty. The stress is put on the availability of monetary and other resources for the satisfaction of particular needs as opposed to self-sufficiency. Other external factors and social goods are considered as probable influences over capabilities. According to this perception, therefore, people will consider themselves as poor if they feel that they have no capacity to attain their dreams. 

The capability approach to explaining poverty is also supported by the social exclusion (SE) method (Alkire and Santos, 2014). The SE method originated in industrialized nations to attempt and to explain marginalization and the lack of some items even in developed countries that provide general welfare provisions ( Stewart, 2014) . The European Union (EU) describes SE as how people come to be entirely or in part are left out from participating fully in the community in which they live. Atkinson (1998) adds more weight to this approach by suggesting that social exclusion happens when an individual is an inhabitant in a community, and for any cause beyond his or her capability is unable to participate in ordinary events in their community, despite a desire to join in the activities. Alkire and Santos (2014) debated this definition. Thus the SE method, people will feel that they are poor if they realize that they have been marginalized by their community or governments, but will feel otherwise if they perceive their inclusion. 

The participatory approach also complements the two non-monetary approaches to explaining poverty. For example, Atkinson (1998) criticizes current poverty estimates for being external and failing to consider the point of view of poor people. This approach purposefully aims, therefore, to allow poor people to participate in resolutions concerning poverty and its implications on their lives. Importantly, after people engage in defining their situations, assessments and interpretation of their experiences could then be possible. This approach contests that people might report being poor based on their life experiences, which might not include their income levels or their expenditures. For example, it could be that some families or individuals earned or spent meagerly, yet they are happy. In the case of such individuals, is it correct to classify them as being poor? 

Evidently, all the approaches have shortcomings in their attempts to define poverty. Alkire et al. (2015: 366) argue that the space in which poverty is determined, and the way the scope has been explained by the indicators chosen, is not comprehensive. Poverty encompasses many aspects, not all of which can be measured. Thus, there is a global debate underway over whether material, social, and political aspects of life should be included in the definition of poverty. First, there is no consensus so far on whether poverty should be weighted by utilities, resources, or choice to live life according to one’s desires and potential. Second, some global agencies are at a crossroads with attempts at a universal definition for poverty (Alkire et al. (2015: 370; Saith, 2001: 87). Poverty parameters were originally designed for developed countries, whereas participatory and capability approaches were initially designed for developing countries. The way individuals interpret poverty parameters of the different approaches will vary from one country to another, from rural to urban, and so forth. The physical structures and the social conditions affect the way people think and perceive poverty: poverty, then, is about how individuals see themselves and those seeking to define the poor see the poor. 

A critical question remains: how should people distinguish between being poor and not being poor? On what basis should individuals who view themselves as being contented be called poor? Justifying the use of one set of indicators to create a poverty line over another is indeed tricky. Saith (2001) is of the view that the choice of a poverty line will show up the many disconnections between the wealthy and the poor. That kind of a break will show some distinct traits of the poor and that neither political nor moral reflections hold. 

Collectively, the various methods for measuring and identifying poverty do not present a single method to measure poverty. In the monetary, ability, and social insularity approaches, outsiders determine the statistics and parameters that will apply to a group of which they are not a part. Thus, the people themselves may give exaggerated information in the participatory approach. And, the poverty definitions lack subjectivity, especially from outside observers. Ultimately, different methods may culminate into different priorities for the design and implementation of antipoverty policies. An essential factor for a poverty measure is likely the ratio of the population with insufficient levels of consumption. Many economists like Sen (1976) are drawn to relative poverty measures because they rely only on a static relationship to median income, and therefore one can establish thresholds. Yet, a comparable test is not a practical method to develop standards of poverty policy analysis because a person can be counted as inferior, even though not all needs or desires are considered. For example, basic needs, such as food and shelter are broadly acknowledged whereas the need for a car, or expensive clothes, is rarely considered to have equal importance by policymakers. 

This paper has shown that at its core poverty is concerned with how people perceive themselves not a poverty measure that both scholars and practitioners cannot agree upon. As this essay has described, poverty should be considered relative to the conditions of living of individuals. Specifically, individuals who feel that their capacities to realize goals and objectives is obscured, or that they have been marginalized in their communities to feel poor, it is only reasonable that investigators ask for the opinions of individuals before they can determine if they are poor or rich. Many people in the third world, for example, may not have material possession as compared to their counterparts in the developed world but lead a contented life according to their own standards. It would therefore be inaccurate to judge them as poor basing on the Western standards. Life in different parts of the world requires different requirements to satisfy various needs and wants. This pragmatic nature of life makes it relative. With all the factors stated, it would be therefore accurate to state that being poor is not just about how much one earns or consumes but how an individual sees himself. 

Alkire, S. and Foster, J., 2011. Understandings and misunderstandings of multidimensional poverty measurement.  Journal of Economic Inequality ,  9 (2), pp.289-314. 

Alkire, S. and Santos, M.E., 2014. Measuring acute poverty in the developing world: Robustness and scope of the multidimensional poverty index.  World Development ,  59 , pp.251-274. 

Alkire, S., Roche, J.M., Seth, S. and Sumner, A., 2015. Identifying the poorest people and groups: strategies using the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index.  Journal of International Development ,  27 (3), pp.362-387. 

Atkinson, A.B., 1998. Social exclusion, poverty and unemployment.  Exclusion, employment and opportunity ,  4 . 

Jolliffe, D. and Prydz, E.B., 2015. Global poverty goals and prices: how purchasing power parity matters. 

Laderchi, C.R., 2000.  Participatory methods in the analysis of poverty: a critical review . Queen Elizabeth House. 

Laderchi, C.R., 2000.  The monetary approach to poverty: a survey of concepts and methods  (pp. 1-19). Queen Elizabeth House. 

Laderchi, C.R., Saith, R. and Stewart, F., 2003. Does it matter that we do not agree on the definition of poverty? A comparison of four approaches.  Oxford development studies ,  31 (3), pp.243-274. 

Ravallion, M., 2016. Toward better global poverty measures.  The Journal of Economic Inequality ,  14 (2), pp.227-248. 

Ruggles, P., 1992. Measuring poverty.  Focus ,  14 (1), pp.1-9. 

Saith, R., 2001.  Capabilities: the Concept and its Operationalisation . Oxford: Queen Elizabeth House. 

Sen, A., 1976. Poverty: an ordinal approach to measurement.  Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society , pp.219-231. 

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Poverty And Education Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Poverty , Social Issues , Students , Sociology , People , Economics , Nation , Influence

Words: 2500

Published: 02/20/2023



Most of the people agree that the relationship between poverty and education is a two-way direction. Increase in the rate of poverty could result to poor educational attainment of people since people living below or near the poverty threshold could not afford adequate education (Krueger & Lindahl 1102). On the other hand, poor educational attainment could result to people being constraint to live below or near the poverty threshold due to the lack or low amount of opportunities (Berg 1). In most of the studies, it shows consistently that economic and social status is an important factor or determinant of the outcomes with regards to education. It also shows that the level of educational attainment could influence the earnings and living standard of people. One of the main problems of the United States is the increasing rate of poverty and its influence on education (Psacharopoulos & Patrinos 113). According to the Southern Education Foundation, the majority of the students in the United States are from the low-income family. It is the first time in 50 years that most of the students in primary and secondary education came from the low-income class. The federal and the state government of the United States are spending about $500 billion per year in the education sector (Layton np). However, it still could not solve the problem of increasing poverty rate. In order to solve the problem of increasing poverty rate, the government as well as other organizations should require more focus on increasing the budget for education and providing special education interventions. The objective of this essay is to argue that improving the education sector could help in solving the problem of increasing rate of poverty. This essay also opts to evaluate the relationship of poverty and education in order to understand how improving education could help in providing solutions the problem of high poverty rate. People should consider some of the methods to improve the educational attainment of students such as special education interventions and increasing budget for education in order to solve the problem of increasing poverty rate.

Background on Poverty

In order to understand the influence of social and economic status of people on education, one should also understand the concept of poverty. Poverty should not be viewed only as absence financial resources of an individual. According to Amartya Sen, poverty should be considered as the individual’s lack of capability to function well in the community or in the society due to several social and economic reasons (Sen 4). The lack of adequate education could also be considered as a type of poverty. Sen also distinguished two types of poverty which is the absolute poverty and relative poverty (Sen 4). Absolute poverty refers to the lack of financial resources required to survive on a minimum standard of living (Berg 1). On the other hand, relative poverty is viewed or determined by the society or community in which the person belongs. It should be considered that providing solution to solve the problem of high poverty rates require complicated programs strategies. This is because the concept of poverty is not as simple as any other economic concept. It requires full understanding of other important factors such as social marginalization, social skills and educational attainment (Krueger & Lindahl 1102). This is the reason why government should focus more on providing solutions to the problem of education rather than providing people the advantages on earning more (Berg 1). People should focus more on improving the education sector in order to solve the problem of poverty.

Influence of Education on Economic Growth

Better educational attainment could provide individuals higher probability of acquiring better jobs and earn more due to the larger job opportunities. Firms and industries require more educated people in their business since they knew that they have more skills and knowledge regarding the field. People will higher educational attainments are considered to be more productive economically which results to higher earnings (Berg 5). The influence of education on the poverty rate is associated to the higher earnings and the higher opportunities in the labour market. In general, countries with higher amounts of educated people tend to become more economically developed due to the stronger labour market. One of the main reasons why government should focus on improving the education sector is that it could also improve the economic growth of the nation. The main economic concept which could explain the influence of education on the economic growth is the concept of human capital. Human capital is the ability to perform labour and produce economic value through social and personal attributes (Krueger & Lindahl 1102). In general, higher human capital of the nation means more people to work on various fields. Higher workforce could result to economic growth due to the high productivity level. Improvement of the education sector is one of the methods of improving human capital.

Influence of Education on General Living Standards

Another reason why the government should improve the education sector of the nation is that it could influence the improvement in the general living standards of their people. Higher educational attainment could provide social benefits other than the increase in financial resources. These social benefits could not be easily acquired by individuals who are not educated. One of these social benefits is the improvement in the living standards of individuals. Educated people are often more capable of contributing economic and social development of the nation. This is because educated people often change in behaviour due to the knowledge or skills they acquire. Education should be improved in order to acquire these social developments. Education is also viewed as a tool to combat several social and economic issues (Berg 5). In most of the studies, experts concluded that countries with more educated people are often more capable of solving social issues such as the combating HIV and AIDS, environmental sustainability and community development. In is known that solving these social issues could help in reducing the poverty rate of the nation. Improvement of the education sector is not only directly influencing the poverty rate. It also indirectly improves the poverty rate of the nation through social development.

How Poverty Affects Educational Outcomes

The social and economic status of a student is considered to be the most influential factor or determinant for the educational outcomes in most of the developing and developed countries. Home background could affect the ability of students to learn in school as well as to participate in the activities in the classrooms. Some of the students are held back on their education due to lack of financial resources or due to the lack of parental influence (Berg 9). There are programs that could help poor students to pursue their education and increase the educational outcomes of a nation such as scholarships and other educational benefits. However, it is still not enough to support the large volume of poor students in the country (Raffo et al. 253). Some studies suggest that the influence of the social and economic status of students on the educational attainment could be reduced by improving the performance of poor students in the schools (Krueger & Lindahl 1102). There are several methods that could improve the performance of poor students such as special education intervention. However, studies also concluded that the high poverty level at schools could also negatively influence the educational outcomes of students. In general, students attending schools with higher quantity of poor students have the greatest disadvantage (Psacharopoulos & Patrinos 113). In this case, special education intervention is still not enough. People should consider increasing the budget for education sector.

How Poverty Affects Student’s Ability to Learn

The high poverty rate could also indirectly influence the educational outcome of students through low parental education, limited financial resources, poor home background and poor nutrition and health (Temple 905). In general, poverty could reduce the student’s capability to learn due to circumstances or consequences of poor educational environment. For example, large quantity of students coming from the low-income families have high tendency to have poor nutrition and health. It is known that poor nutrition and health are related to the negative impact on educational outcome (Berg 11). In general, students who are poor in nutrition and health are less likely to enrol or to pursue their education. People especially for the government should improve the condition of schools or students in order to increase the educational outcome. The government should provide special education intervention in order for the school to be conducive for learning (Layton np). Unstable environmental and financial status of students could greatly affect their ability to learn. In some developing countries, the educational outcome is relatively low due to the consequences of high poverty rate. The government should consider helping students to overcome the negative impacts of low social and economic status in order to improve their ability to learn (Krueger & Lindahl 1102).

Reduction of Educational Enrolments and Human Capital

Another obvious impact of high poverty rate is the reduction of educational enrolments. The financial requirements and opportunity cost of education is increasing in the modern times. More children now prefer to work on farms or in households to support their families. Most of the students also perceived low opportunities and benefits for pursuing education (Berg 13). In most of the developed countries, the demand for primary and secondary education is decreasing which is an alarming issue since it has a direct relation with the human capital of the nation. In general, the decrease in human capital of a country could lead to slow down of their economic growth due to the lack of labour market (Raffo et al. 253). The government as well as the school institutions have the responsibility to increase the educational outcomes of students. They have the responsibility to inspire their students to pursue their education and acquire a career in the future. The school institutions should provide information to their students about the large opportunities for them if they would finish their studies or if they would graduate (Psacharopoulos & Patrinos 113). There are certain special educational interventions that could inspire students to pursue their dream and to continue their education. Access to adequate education is often the main problem in developing countries. The government should provide enough economic support in providing adequate education to their people since it could also result to the reduction of poverty rate of their nation.

How Social Marginalization Affects Educational Attainment

The consequences of relative poverty could also negatively affect the educational attainment of students and the educational outcomes of the nation. One of the major consequences of relative poverty is social marginalization (Berg 16). Some people are socially marginalized due to their lack of ability to function well in the society. The relative poverty could greatly influence the educational outcomes off the nation if the students who belong to the family with lower income are socially marginalized (Krueger & Lindahl 1102). Social marginalization should be removed in order for the students to function well in schools. Social marginalization due to poverty should be abolished in order to improve the motivation of students to pursue their education.

Education Intervention for Reduction of Poverty Rates

One of the main solutions to reduce the poverty rate of the nation is to improve the education sector. One of the strategies of improving education is to provide special educational intervention. Education could provide solutions for the problem of high poverty rate of the nation through special education intervention. Special education interventions are programs which could help schools to motivate students to continue on their studies and to finish their education. Some of these programs include involving parents in the education of their children, literacy campaign for adults, anti-poverty policies and regulations, social works in the community, nutritional programs, and remedial education measures (Berg 20). The success of these programs could vary depending on the condition or situations of schools or the community itself. Some places have common problems such as the low nutrition of the young individuals in the community. In this case, nutritional programs could be more suitable for these places. Implementation of these programs is necessary in order to improve the learning outcome and education outcome of students. The government as well as the school institutions should consider developing these types of programs since it could help in improving the education sector as well as solving the general problems of high poverty rate.

Increasing the Budget for Education

Another obvious solution to improve the education sector and to help solve the problem of high poverty rate is to increase the budget allocation for education. Some schools with more students belonging to low-income families tend to have lower school resources such as books, classrooms and even faculties. Helping these schools to acquire more school resources could also help provide adequate education to students coming from low-income families (Berg 21). Investing more on education could also help in reducing the poverty rate since it could result to higher economic and social functionality.

It is known that poverty and education are co-related with each other. High poverty rate could result to low education outcome and low educational attainment could result to more people living below or near the poverty threshold. Solving the problem of low education outcome is easier than solving the problem of high poverty rate. There are several major reasons why education could influence the poverty rate of a nation. The government and the school institutions should provide programs and plans in order to improve the education sector of any country. Some of these programs and plans include especial education intervention and increasing budget allocation for education (Temple 905). In solving the problems of the nation, one should consider adding more educated people since they are the ones that could help any country.

Works cited:

Berg, S. Poverty and Education. Education Policy Series. International Academy of Education. 2008. Web. <> Krueger, A., & Lindahl, M. “Education for growth: Why and for whom?”. Journal of Economic Literature 39 (2001): 1101-1136 Layton, L. Majority of the US public school students are in poverty. The Washington Post. 2015. Web. <> Psacharopoulos, G., & Patrinos, H. “Returns to investment in education: a further update”. Education Economics 12.2 (2004): 111-134. Print. Raffo, C., Dyson, A., Gunter, H., Hall, D., Jones, L., & Kalambouka, A. Education and poverty: a critical review of theory, policy and practice. Manchester: Joseph Rowntree Foundation & University of Manchester. 2007. Print Sen, A. Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2001. Print. Temple, J. “Generalizations that aren’t? Evidence on education and growth”. European Economic Review 45 (2001): 905-919. Print.

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Poverty: The Major World Problem

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Different Solutions to Poverty in Urban Areas

Different Solutions to Poverty in Urban Areas

Different solutions to poverty in urban areas 1. Introduction: Poverty can be defined in two ways, which are absolute poverty and relative poverty. In terms of absolute poverty, Murray (2004:2) suggests that the lack of an adequate income and cannot gain access to basic necessities to provide for basic human needs-food, clothing, warmth and shelter- are a clear indication of poverty. In a relative way, there was an assumption that a certain standard of living was normal, and that those living below this, while they might not be starving or homeless, were certainly poor, which are called relative poverty (Murray, 2004).

Nowadays people are in the more industrialised and technologically advanced societies. However the global poverty is slowing changing recently then taking on a more urban face. (Watkins, 1995). In many countries, the reason why the urban poverty happened is that the rapid population growth, agricultural modernisation, and inequalities in land ownership. As urban population increases, urban poverty is becoming increasingly serious. For example, children playing in open sewers or of women picking their way through huge rubbish dumps is no longer shocking (Practical Action Consulting, 2009).

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Additionally, form 1970 to 1990, the number of urban poor in the United States rose from 44 million to 115 million, compared to 75 million to 80 million in rural areas (World Resources 1996-97: 12). All of these illustrates that urban poverty is rapidly becoming one of the most complicated challenges. There are several problems associated with urban poverty. With the problems of housing, urban services, community development, employment generation, micro-enterprise, nutrition, family planning, and education, it becomes increasingly clear that have a great influences on the whole society. Of the problems to be ameliorated, poverty is perhaps the most basic. ”(Allen and Thomas, 2000:10). Consequently, the urban poverty problem is urgent needed to solve. The purpose of this report is to discuss and evaluate the different solutions of urban poverty. The first way is accessing to sanitation. Next, investment in education would be introduced. The final way is to improve the standard of housing. 2. Solutions: 2. 1 improve sanitation standards: To start with, the government should focus on sanitation problems exist in urban poverty. Practical Action Consulting, 2009) Masika (1997) suggested that physical infrastructure problem of housing, sanitation, water, which is a tradition policy approaches to urban poverty. Furthermore, lack of sanitation should be concerned for solving the urban poverty. Because the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2006) indicates that in excess of 13 million deaths per annum are due to preventable environmental causes. Also environmental causes approximately one third of death and disease in the least developed regions.

Better environmental health management can prevent two of the world’s biggest childhood killer. It is serious that over 40% of deaths from malaria and a projected 94% of deaths from diarrhoeal diseases (Practical Action Consulting, 2009). Urban poverty do not have access to basic services like sanitation or water . For example, in India about 54. 71% of urban slums have no toilet facility. As well as because of the lack of maintenance most free community toilets built by state government or local bodies are unusable (The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, 2009).

Which also means it is necessary to solve basic service especially like sanitation. As a result, in India urban poverty report discuses that to improve sanitation standards, “it is suggested to construct community toilets, to extend sewerage networks to slum areas and connect toilet outlets with that, and community management of toilets in common places” (The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, 2009). It is believed that the best least cost and high impact and improve well-being of the poor people approach to reduce poverty is improving environmental health.

More specifically, the provision of environmental health infrastructure and service are creating income and employment (Practical Action Consulting, 2009). “Good health, mental and physical, is an important determinant of employment, productivity, and income” (Watkins, 1995). In addition, improve the standard of sanitation would save the lives of 2 million children a year from diarrheal diseases and dehydration (Perlman, Hopkins and Jonsson, 1998). Therefore, improve standard of sanitation is quite effective to solve urban poverty. 2. 2 investments in education: Investment in the education of poor people can reduce their vulnerability and expand their opportunities” (Watkins, 1995). Moreover, Investment in education can provide the poor people opportunity to have job and learn the skill, which might be useful to reduce urban poverty. Obviously, the low income of poor people is partly a consequence of their low levels of skill and literacy (Jespersen, 1994). When the poor people are educated, the earning capability and employment prospects are increased also would bring wider benefits for society.

For example, the share of public funds allocated to higher education in South-East Asia has averaged around 15 per cent for the past three decades, but in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa it has averaged 24 per cent (Watkins, 1995). These are raising the skills-base of an economy, reduce poverty and inequality, and promote growth. Therefore, education is also a good way to increase the skill of poor people, which can provide them opportunity to get job and then reduce the urban poverty. 2. 3 improve the standard of housing “Lack of access to secure and safe housing is a central feature of urban poverty” (Masika, 1997).

In Africa, Asia and Latin America there are at least 600 million urban dwellers live in housing that is so overcrowded and of such poor quality, that their lives and their health is continually at risk (UNCHS). Urban areas are about 60 per cent of the total urban development occupied by squatter developments in large Latin American cities and today cities find it almost impossible that the urban poor is satisfied by the enough providing of urban services (Giusti and Perez, 2008). Therefore, it is necessary to solving urban poverty through improving standard of housing.

For example, in last decades, it is a great challenge for government to plan and deal with the living problems deeply and widely. In the last 2 decades, it was planed by urban planners in Venezuela suggest that squatter settlements would set up a special and formal improvements, such as the infrastructure and the roads build. City is probably regarded as a whole by legislation for national, regional, and local plans. It is possibly to develop the barrio areas as same rules and ideas as other urban areas were applied, included to develop barrio areas probably should be designed specially.

It seems that in this special program, the order of the existed areas should be damaged to create a completely new one (Giusti and Perez, 2008). Thus, this example shows that improve the standard of housing can be used to solve the urban poverty. 3. Conclusion: To sum up, urban poverty is rapidly becoming one of the most serious problems. Several solutions are found to solve urban poverty, which are improving the standard of sanitation, investment in education and improving standard of housing. It is evaluated that all these solutions are effective for urban poverty.

It is certain that the government and local community both have response to solving urban poverty, which the situation can be improved greatly in the future. [Words: 1236] Reference: Allen, T. , & Thomas, A. (2000) Poverty and Development into the 21ST Century. UK: Oxford University Press INDIA: URBAN POVERTY REPORT 2009 [Online]: http://data. undp. org. in/poverty_reduction/Factsheet_IUPR_09a. pdf. [access: 11th April 2010]. Perlman,J. ,Hopkins , E. and Jonsson, A. (1988) ‘ Urban Solutions at the Povrety/Environment Intersection ‘. The Mega-Cities Project Publication, MCP-018. Online]: http://www. megacitiesproject. org/publications_pdf_macp018solutions. pdf Practical Action Consulting, (2009). [Online]:http://practicalactionconsulting. org Masika, R. (1997). Urbanisation and Urban Poverty : A Gender Analysis . University of Sussex: Institute Of Development Studies Murray, P. (2004). Poverty and Welfare. Wathkins, K. (1995). The Oxfam Poverty Report. UK and Ireland :Oxfam World Resources (1996-1997) The World Resource Institute et al. , New York, 1996 Jespersen, E. (1994). Mobilising Resources for Children in the 1990s, UNICEF staff Working Papers

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