Poverty can be broken down into relative and absolute poverty. Absolute poverty is the state whereby people are deprived of basic needs including clean water, food, health, sanitation facilities, information, clothing, education, and shelter. This is not only a matter of income, but also the access to services. Relative poverty, on the other hand, is a situation whereby individuals do not have access to the minimum amount of income that would ensure that they maintain average living standards as defined in the societies that they live in. In 2015, World Bank set the international poverty line at US$1.90 per day (Shildrick 7). Based on this threshold, almost 3 billion people live below the poverty line. The GDP of 41 poorest countries in the world is less compared to the wealth of the 7 richest people when combined. Around 21,000 children tend to die every day as a result of poverty prospects (Shah 1).

Causes of Poverty

There are various causes that result in poverty. Among them is war and political instability. In times of war, various resources are destroyed, and it becomes difficult for some families to earn a living. It also becomes difficult for foreign investors to invest in these countries since they fear that they might incur losses due to the climate at hand. It is clear that most of the poorest countries have experienced serious political upheaval and civil war at some point during the 20th century (Shildrick 117).

Environmental problems like inadequate rainfall that would ensure there is no presence of sustainable and adequate food. Most third world countries depend on agriculture as their main economic activity. In cases where the rainfall is not adequate, agriculture usually polarizes. This results in reduced employment and general lack of food security, which heightens the poverty levels.

Vulnerability to natural disasters has also been a major source of poverty. Catastrophic disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and landslides among others have acted as impediments for some countries in their attempt of eradicating poverty (Chant 53). This is because when these disasters strike, a lot of resources are used in trying to help the affected individuals and mitigating future disasters. The resources used would have been used in other developmental projects that would help the country thrive economically.

Effects of Poverty

Poverty is normally associated with a number of things that are not quite desirable. Among them are high illiteracy levels. This because in areas where poverty is prevalent, many people do not attend school from an early age. The families are not able to afford the necessary resources and supplies that are required for the schooling life. Most children start working at a tender age in order to help their parents make ends meet, and therefore, they never have time for school (Chant 34). High illiteracy levels in a country are quite detrimental since they spearhead the persistent of the vicious cycle of poverty.

Another effect of poverty is poor health and malnutrition.  Poor nations normally find it difficult to afford the appropriate health facilities including medicine. Diseases tend to be common among the poor due to the environment and lifestyle that they are subjected to. Lack of appropriate nutrition reduces the body’s ability to fight off various diseases. The sanitation conditions also tend to increase the probabilities of contracting diseases. The death rates tend to be high as a result. The life expectancy is reduced too (Shildrick 98).

Poverty is also known to be a major contributor to immorality in societies. Poverty has pushed several people to various aspects of crime in search of daily bread. There are people who have to steal in order to sustain some basic needs. This includes stealing even foodstuff and medical supplies for the sake of survival. Some people have been pushed to other things like prostitution. There are various risks involved with such actions like contracting of STDs, which increase the death rates.

How to Reduce Poverty 

Poverty is a menace that brings a lot of harm than good to the affected societies. As a result, everyone should be working to eliminate or reduce its effects. Among the ways that could be used to reduce poverty is the provision of quality education. Quality education will ensure that children acquire life skills and knowledge that is essential for them to actualize their full potential. The skills acquired will help in acquiring income generating activities that will ensure that they evade poverty in future. Quality education should encompass qualified teachers, proper learning institutions and an appropriate curriculum (Shildrick 201).

Enhancement of economic security would also help to reduce poverty. People living in poverty should be trained how to secure livelihoods in order to reduce their poverty levels. This can be done by both the private and public sector.

Mechanisms to reduce corruption and embezzlement in poverty-laden countries would also work to reduce poverty. Some countries are poor due to corruption as there are people embezzling public funds and investing them in other countries.

In conclusion, close to 3 billion people in the world live below the poverty line.  There is the need for various stakeholders to take the initiative of eradicating poverty. It is a shame that quite a number of people are dying due to poverty in such a time and age. Among the causes of poverty, there is political instability and war, poor environmental conditions and Vulnerability to natural disaster. Effects of poverty on the other hand, include high illiteracy levels, immorality and poor health. Poverty can be reduced through provision of quality education, enhancement of economic security and reducing corruption and embezzlement in affected countries.


Works Cited

Chant, Sylvia. The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty: Concepts, Research, Policy.   N.p.: Edward Elgar, 2011. Print.

Shah, Anup. “Causes of Poverty.” – Global Issues. N.p., 28 Sept. 2014. Web. 01 May 2016.

Shildrick, Tracy. Poverty and Insecurity: Life in ‘low-pay, No-pay’ Britain. Bristol: Policy, 2015.    Print.


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