Poverty

Poverty is defined as the state of being extremely poor, although many definitions vary due to its connotations with politics and economics. One can generally, in poorer countries, define poverty as the severe shortage of basic needs such as shelter and food. However the meaning of poverty and what is means is different in developed countries, which has led to much debate.

Poverty In The Developing World

Poverty is a huge issue around the world, particularly in the less developed parts of the world such as Africa and Asia, which are still developing. Internationally extreme poverty is generally established as people around the world who live on less than $1.25 (USD) a day. Currently as of 2015, the World Bank has estimated that around 1 billion people around the world are living on less than $1.251, almost all within developing countries, which is around 14% of the world’s population.

Extreme poverty of course leads to undernourishment, and the UN estimates that during 2012-14 805 million people around the world suffered from chronic undernourishment2, and of these 791 million people were from developing countries, making undernourishment and hunger nearly exclusively a problem in the less developed countries.

Poverty In The Developed World

The UN defines poverty as ‘’a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means a lack of a basic capacity to participate effectively in society’’3. As can be seen, the definition could quite easily fit a large portion of the populace in developed nations.

While some people might not be undernourished or die from starvation, they can certainly sleep hungry and be homeless. While they can receive basic education, unlike in developing countries, they may not have the funds or opportunities to progress to higher education, which are available to other people. This, relative to other citizens, makes them poor as their opportunities are stifled and they cannot fully participate in society. Although the topic of poverty is more of an economical and life and death issue in developing countries, it becomes a more political entity in the developed world. The 2011 United States census found that 46.2 million people live in poverty in the US4, and in the UK 27% of all children live in poverty5, which is a shocking statistic for a developed nation.

Poverty affects every country in the world; from the most developed to the least. Although much has been done to eradicate poverty though monumental efforts by charity and political organisations, billions around the world continue suffer and a large portion of the world’s population still goes without access to clean water and food.


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