For a group of people in every country, poverty is an unfortunate way of life. Without a doubt, those living in poverty would not live this way if there was a way to get out of it. Since most, if not all, of one’s income would go towards housing, food, utilities, insurance, and other necessities, it would leave very little to none at all towards the steps needed to gain better, higher paying employment. Those steps can include improving ones education to increase job prospects. One way state governments have chosen to aid those in poverty is through the implementation of welfare programs. These programs help those in poverty by providing housing, food, and/or money. This creates more breathing room and allows more of one’s own money and time to be put towards the proper steps for gaining the skills for better employment. However, how effective these programs are at lowering the poverty rate is limited to how much is spent on those programs. The effectiveness of a program that only gives those in poverty very little to help would be small, while a program that gives more, helps more. I theorize that countries that spend more on their welfare programs have a lower poverty rate than those that spend less.
To begin, we must define what poverty is in order to have a clear view of those who are considered impoverished. There are two main approaches to this. The first approach works in terms of absolutes. It assumed that there is a minimal standard of living, and that this standard is universal. This could be understood by the concept of ‘enough’. According to this approach, there is ‘enough’ food, clothing, and shelter, plus s few extras to get you by (Stein 1971, 5). One example of this is the concept of a ‘poverty line’. Those that fall below this line are to be considered impoverished. The second approach is relative. The idea here is that being impoverished means to have significantly less than most people. It relates the median incomes of the non-poor to the poor (Stein 1971, 5).
In this paper, I will examine poverty using the relational approach. This is because looking at poverty across states with different levels of per capita GDP using the absolute approach will tend to produce extremely high rates of poverty in some countries and extremely low rates in others (Smeeding 2006). An example of this can be seen when using the absolute approach in comparing poverty rates in the United States to other countries. The United States relies on the absolute approach to measure its own poverty rates (Smeeding 2006). However, what could be considered impoverished in the United States according to its standards could very well be considered to be moderately well-off in other countries, or even in other parts of the United States. The relational approach compares what is considered not-poor in the countries that are being looked at and not from another.
Those in poverty can be broken into the following subgroups; children in one-parent houseolds,...