Causes of poverty

Causes of absolute and relative poverty

Causes of Absolute Poverty

The causes of absolute poverty include:

  • World population increase:This leads to problems with inadequate housing and food shortage.
  • Natural disasters, i.e. tsunamis and hurricanes:They can destroy entire communities, cause a shortage of food and medication, and damage infrastructure.
  • Conflict:Instead of spending money on education, agriculture, or health, countries in wars spend most of their money on weapons and machinery. Entire countries can be destroyed by advanced weaponry, and many citizens are forced to flee and become refugees.
  • Debt:An example of this is Zambia, an African country, that spends 34 times more repaying debt than it did on education. As a result, many of Zambians did not get the education that they needed, resulting in absolute poverty


Causes of relative poverty-

  • Unemployment:From 2010-2014, the unemployment rate in the United States was over eight percent. This means that over 18 million Americans over the age of 16 did not have jobs. This lack of employment increases your chances of living in poverty.
  • Education:The less education you have, the higher your chances of being unemployed, which in turn increases the likelihood that you will live in poverty.
  •  Poor health:Poor health is not only a cause of poverty, but it is also a consequence of poverty. People living in poverty suffer greater levels of physical and mental illness than those who do not. Poor health also weakens impoverished communities, which prevent many people from working and earning an income. For example, an infectious disease may spread across an impoverished community, killing many. Since these communities do not have access to adequate health care services, they cannot be treated and the cycle of poverty continues.
  • Lack of access to affordable services:Affordable services, such as low-cost child care and affordable transportation to and from work, are essential in preventing and reducing poverty, especially among families with limited income. Without access to affordable services, some people will not be able to fully participate in social, academic and occupational activities. This in turn can lead to poverty.