Our world is not ideal and has multiple problems. Gaining inspiration from the multiple utopic and dystopic stories that we read, I think the world can move a step closer to ideal by eliminating poverty. Through this paper, I would like to understand about one of the serious problems the world faces today – poverty. I think it is important to know what the current status of poverty is in our world. I would also like to look at the various causes of poverty and probably find some ways to reduce poverty.
What is Poverty and how is it measured?
Poverty is a concept that is defined differently by various countries. “The U.S. Census Bureau defines poverty rate as the percentage of people (or families) who are in poverty” (Pitzl). Since different countries in the world have varying definitions of being poor, they follow different methods to measure poverty. Two common ways in which poverty is measured are - absolute poverty and relative poverty. In absolute poverty, an income is fixed as the threshold income and anyone who has a lower income would be considered to be in poverty. In this case, a person is considered to be in poverty if he does not have enough money to live a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, relative poverty is a more subjective approach to poverty. In relative poverty a certain income is set as the threshold income to measure poverty depending on the median income of the population. Therefore, in relative poverty, a person is considered to be in poverty if he cannot afford all the amenities in comparison to the others in the society. (Alters 1). There is also a third way of measuring poverty which is called social exclusion. Social exclusion takes into account the fact the poor families do not have accessibility to the amenities that others have access to (Pitzl).
I would like to provide some statistics demonstrating the current levels of poverty in the world. Currently, poverty exists in every continent of the world except Antarctica (Alters 13). The threshold income to measure poverty has been changed to $1.25 a day. According to the new threshold, 1.4 billion people worldwide live in poverty (Shah). Hence, a lot of people are living in poverty and we have not achieved a lot with our poverty reduction techniques. 48 countries in the world are considered to be underdeveloped countries in the world according to UN’s list (Alters 31). Although the United States is a developed country, the poverty rate of the US in 2012 was 15.1% (Alters 90).
Causes and Solutions: