Table of Contents
For many centuries, poverty has been one of the most painful issues worldwide. Considering the causes of poverty, it is difficult to decide on a single root cause, which is supposed to be the main source of global poverty. Hence, each country or even region tends to have their own circumstances resulting in the situation where poverty takes place. Poverty can be identified and caused by the factors of different nature. For example, there exist external and internal causes or man-made and natural ones. Besides, some of the poverty situations can be individual while others tend to develop on a global level. Furthermore, poverty can cause a large number of negative effects including crimes, malnutrition, health problems, lack of food or water, and lack of basic life amenities. Consequently, in order to prevent humans from suffering from any of these poverty manifestations, governments all over the world try to search for the most appropriate solution to combat the issue of global poverty. Nevertheless, the problem of poverty can be solved if its main causes are identified and examined. Hence, such complex forces as the causes of poverty should be understood so that to create and sustain an appropriate policy, which would deal with the issue of global poverty. It is important to control poverty and create an environment where everyone will have a chance for a good life, thus, eliminating any potential obstacles to global prosperity. As a result, considering the implementation of an appropriate poverty policy, several groups of poverty causes should be identified. Economic, social, geographical and environmental causes must be studied in order to relieve people from suffering from various problems caused by poverty.
Meaning of Poverty and Its Types
In order to understand what causes poverty, first, it is essential to define the meaning of poverty. Hence, poverty can be identified as a social condition, the main characteristic of which is the lack of vital resources, which humans need to survive. In most cases, poverty is determined by an income level that tends to vary depending on various factors, like place of residence etc. As a result, poverty can be seen either as relative or absolute. This can be explained by the fact that some people living in poor conditions may feel comfortable as compared to those who are extremely wealthy (Feng, 2014). Consequently, scientists believe that it is better to define poverty using such conditions of human existence as lack of food, clothing, and shelter. Besides, people, suffering from poverty, are familiar with a condition of persistent hunger or even starvation; usually, they do not get adequate education and are not provided with sufficient health insurance coverage. Furthermore, traditionally, such people remain alienated from the mainstream society (Keeley, 2014). Hence, poverty can be considered as an unfair distribution of different material resources among people either on a global scale or within particular nations. Taking into consideration all the factors mentioned above it is possible to make a conclusion that due to poverty and insecure future people may not have peace of mind.
According to its complex nature, several types of poverty can be distinguished. One of the types is situational poverty. Usually, it can be caused by a sudden economic crisis or loss. Consequently, this type of poverty is temporary and doesn’t last long. Such events as various environmental disasters, severe health problems or even divorce can be regarded as causes of situational poverty. Another type is generational poverty. Such a type of poverty can be evidenced in families where at least two generations experienced poor living conditions (Jensen, 2009). Usually, such families do not know how to eliminate such a situation. Absolute type of poverty is usually referred to lack of food, drinking water and shelter in a whole country. People who experience absolute poverty struggle for survival on a daily basis. Another type of poverty is relative poverty, which is related to financial status of a particular family whose income is considered to be insufficient and is not enough to provide an adequate standard of living. Urban poverty traditionally relates to the areas of large cities. People living in such areas experience poverty because of overcrowding, violence, and noise issues. Rural poverty can be also of a great concern. People living in rural areas often do not have access to different services (Stavrou, 2008). Furthermore, health care and educational opportunities are not appropriately provided in rural areas. Besides, there are only few job opportunities as compared to urban areas. Consequently, with every passing decade this type of poverty increases. All the aforementioned types of poverty should be studied in accordance to their causes so that an appropriate policy can be implemented to overcome them.
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Regarding the issue of poverty, it can be caused by a large number of economic factors. One of the most common economic causes is slow economic growth and development of a country. Inappropriate governmental policies regarding the country’s economy can cause a widespread poverty among the whole population of the country. The economy that is stagnant or slow can lead to poverty as well. An increased level of unemployment may be a potential cause of poverty. Hence, unbalanced distribution of jobs can lead to various unemployment cases. As a result, unemployed people do not have a chance to make a living and experience poverty problems (Bruenig, 2015). Decreased agricultural output can be also considered as an economic cause of poverty. Since the weather conditions are difficult to predict, decreased agricultural output may cause an increase in poverty rates among the population. Besides, in order to have a well-balanced economy, each country should have a strong agricultural base. Moreover, developed agriculture not only provides people and government, in particular, with food supplies but also provides them with employment opportunities. Poverty can be caused by under-developed infrastructure. On the other hand, developed infrastructure enhances the economic growth of a country. Consequently, if it is poorly developed, poverty can spread to the entire country. Inadequate industrialization of a country can be another potential cause of poverty. Traditionally, industries provide people with employment opportunities (Shah, 2014). Hence, the areas where the industrial sphere is under-developed can be associated with numerous poverty cases. This can be explained by the fact that employment opportunities in such areas are limited and people do not have a chance to get a well-paid job and provide their families with appropriate living conditions. In addition, industries usually offer higher salaries compared to jobs in small companies (Richards, 2010). Another economic cause of poverty is inadequate production of important items needed to provide people with at least primitive living conditions. Basic necessities should be produced adequately so that people have access to them. In case of inadequate provision of food and non-food items, not only population of one particular country can suffer from poverty, but it can become the issue of a global community as a whole. Deprivation of resources can be regarded as another economic cause of poverty. When a country is naturally or intentionally deprived of the resources, such a phenomenon can increase the level of poverty. If the country experiences the lack of the needed resources, people are deprived of employment opportunities. Furthermore, they could not be able to follow their lifestyle since resources are limited or simply absent. One more cause of poverty is related to uneven concentration of wealth and resources (Vale, 2017). When there is no uniform distribution of wealth and other vital resources within a country, such a factor can lead to poverty. Besides, in case of such an uneven distribution, some people may experience extreme poverty while others remain rich. The unbalanced distribution of wealth can be harmful not only for people but also for the country’s economy and development. The last but not least economic cause of poverty is economic inflation. This cause may influence either poor people or middle-class population. Consequently, economic inflation is supposed to be one of the most crucial causes of poverty since it affects all spheres of a country. Furthermore, it may take a long time for a country to recover from inflation thus it leads to an increase in poverty rates (Roser & Ortiz-Ospina, 2017). Taking into consideration all the aforementioned economic causes of poverty, it can be concluded that governments should be responsible for the prevention and elimination of such causes in order not to allow people suffer from poor living conditions.
Social Causes of Poverty
Similarly to economic causes, poverty can be triggered by a large number of social causes. Poverty can be caused by such an example of social evil as untouchability. Hence, this cause of poverty is related to limitation of democratic rights of people of the lower class. Such people are separated from the society and, as a result, may experience poverty (Purbita, 2016). Besides, they do not have access to common employment opportunities and are forced to do work that no one wants to do. When the power is ethically abused, such factor can also lead to poverty. A corrupted government, usually, does not have any sympathetic feelings towards poor people (Anupama, 2012). Furthermore, when the government is corrupted, they always want to preserve their status and control the rich as they can provide them with more money. As a result, poor representatives of the society are not able even to express their situation since they can be easily suppressed. Ignorance and illiteracy of a large number of a country’s population can also be regarded as major cause of poverty. Such people are not able to use their potential to increase their income. Moreover, since their financial status remains limited, they do not have an opportunity to complete their education. Hence, such uneducated people are not able to overcome poverty. Being illiterate, one can simply ignore the situation of poverty. This can be explained by the fact that illiterate people are unaware of all opportunities, which can be used to eliminate the factors leading to poverty. Another potential cause of poverty is the phenomenon of overpopulated areas (Purbita, 2016). Consequently, if a particular area is overpopulated, the employment sector is associated with increased competition. When people do not have employment occupation because of the high flow of frames, they experience poverty. The practice of the caste system can also cause poverty among the population. When the caste system is practiced, people are segregated within the society. Consequently, they are not, usually, allowed to venture outside their caste to seek other opportunities. For instance, if a person belongs to a lower caste, he or she is not allowed to obtain a job in business or trade spheres. Such a system not only deprives poor people of appropriate employment opportunities but also makes them poorer. As a result, the caste system remains to be unfair and causes the spread of poverty in the world. High divorce rates and feminization of poverty remain to be two more potential causes of poverty. Considering the fact that there still exists gender imbalance within the society, women do not always get equal opportunities men usually have access to. As a result, women should be able to choose a preferred sphere of occupation to be able to make a living in the most preferable way. There is no wonder that high divorce rates can cause poverty. Traditionally, it happens to women being deprived of gender equality. Consequently, when a woman is not able to provide herself with appropriate living conditions due to this issue, she experiences poverty. When available opportunities are distributed within a society unequally, it can also lead to an increase in poverty rates. Various opportunities should be equally offered to both men and women. If such a factor is not adhered to, people lose an opportunity to improve their living conditions.
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Geographical Causes of Poverty
There are numerous causes of poverty related to geographical location. For example, population density may cause poverty within a country. Countries with denser populations have fewer possibilities to find good employment opportunities. Consequently, people do not have appropriate living conditions and are not able to overcome poverty. The fertility of land can be one of the most crucial factors leading to poverty. Since soil fertility varies throughout the countries, not all regions can be provided with the same opportunities in regard to land (Purbita, 2016). As a result, in areas where agriculture is developed, people can use land resources to grow and produce various food products. Unfertile lands, on the contrary, cannot provide population with appropriate supplies, so people are pushed to poverty. Poverty can be also caused on a global level since the distribution of fertile lands can be uneven in different countries. For example, there are countries where the land is fertile and, as a result, they have access to all the resources, which can be gained from such a land. Countries, where the land is not fertile, are limited in resources. Consequently, they may experience the situation of poverty. Moreover, unfertile lands, usually, deprive people of being occupied in the agricultural sector. Hence, they experience lack of employment opportunities and, as a result, face poverty. Farm output can be also regarded as the cause of poverty. According to a season, people may or may not grow necessary food products and provide themselves with job opportunities. For example, if weather conditions are good during the year, people are provided with food and other living essentials. Drought, flood and other natural calamities can deprive people of these necessities. As a result, they can suffer from poverty even if such a situation is temporary. There are also causes of poverty related to rural and urban factors. The rates of poverty in these two areas differ significantly. Consequently, the scenario of poverty is also different. For example, it is more difficult for people to survive in urban areas (Bruenig, 2015). The cost of living is very high and employment opportunities are limited. In rural areas, the representatives of poor population can perform various agricultural practices, thus, making it easier for them to survive. Considering all the geographical causes of poverty, it should be noted that such causes can occur not only as a result of human actions but also naturally.
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Environmental and Climatic Causes of Poverty
Poverty can be caused by several environmental and climatic factors. Flood is one of the most widely spread causes of poverty in different countries. Hence, floods can damage farmlands or even completely destroy them. Moreover, agricultural productivity is also influenced by floods (Purbita, 2016). People lose their provisions and can experience poverty. Besides, such a cause of poverty can be rarely tackled since such a natural phenomenon as floods is difficult to control. One more poverty cause is connected with such a climatic adversity as drought. Droughts can be either temporary or permanent. Consequently, people can suffer from poverty due to the fact that, usually, droughts tend to damage farmlands and harm the agricultural output of the whole country. Heavy rains can also be a potential climatic cause of poverty in various countries. Heavy rains can flood lands, killing crops, and harm the overall seasonal harvest. As a result, many people can be deprived of food products and suffer from poverty. Dry seasons, thus meaning lack of rainfall, can be another cause of poverty in regard to climatic conditions. Serious poverty problems can be caused by lack of a sufficient amount of rains. Since it is hard to predict the amount of rains, agricultural sphere continues to experience production disturbances. Hence, people tend to lose their harvest and opportunity to be employed in the agriculture.
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Other Causes of Poverty
Several causes of poverty, which do not belong to any of the aforementioned groups, can be identified. Lack of proper education can become one of the main causes of poverty. In order to develop a country’s economy, it is essential to provide population with appropriate education (Michael, 2015). For instance, people living in rural areas should get education in technical and vocational fields rather than being filled with bookish knowledge. It will provide them with an opportunity to occupy appropriate employment places, thus, reducing mass poverty. Moreover, in rural areas people should focus on the development of agricultural sector that will provide them with food products and job opportunities. Another cause of poverty is an increase in competition among the entire population. This usually happens when people look for employment opportunities (Kisseadoo, 2014). While some people are lucky to get good jobs, others tend to stay behind. Consequently, they remain to be unemployed and experience poverty. There is also a problem with demand and supply. In order to eliminate the rate of poverty worldwide and within a certain country, governments should control growth of population. Another cause of poverty is related to inability of the population in rural areas to adapt. Most representatives of the rural population tend to have a backward mindset (Shah, 2011). As a result, they do not want to adapt to various modern advances. Such a practice deprives them of the opportunity to change their economic conditions and, obviously, overcome the problem of poverty. In order to eliminate poverty, it is important that every person understands and adapts to the process of modernization (Robert & Woodson 2015). Mass migration of people to cities can also cause an increase in poverty rates. Rural population tends to migrate to big cities in search of employment opportunities. Consequently, with every passing decade, the number of people living in cities increases dramatically. Governments should provide rural areas with appropriate educational and employment opportunities in order to reduce poverty in urban areas and take control over the population of cities.