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The Cause and Effect of Poverty

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Can you imagine what life would be like without being able to afford basic necessities such as food, water, shelter and clothing? What it would be like to live on less than $2.50 per day (Shah 2011). Poverty is a major issue all over the world, affecting thousands of individuals every day (Lusted, 2010). There is no set definition of poverty and may vary between individuals depending on their own beliefs and background. For the sake of this essay, poverty can be defined as, “A condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information” (Bell, 2005).

People are considered to be in poverty when they are incapable of eating, getting an education, lack access to health care, and have low income (Bell, 2005). Regardless of where you live in the world whether it is the richest country or the poorest, everyone faces serious problems with poverty. Poverty can be a very perplex phenomenon and people experience difficulties understanding the causes and effects of poverty and lack knowledge regarding some of the actions taken to help people suffering from this awful condition.

Understanding the causes of poverty can be equally as difficult as understanding the term poverty itself (Cliffs Notes, 2011). “Blame the Poor,” is the stereotypical explanation for the cause of poverty by middle-class people still to this day (Cliffs Notes, 2011). The explanation may be true in some instances but for most cases relating to poverty, the poor are unable to control the condition they are living in. There are many causes relating to poverty, the main three being: overpopulation, lack of education and wars. Overpopulation is a major factor contributing to poverty. This problem exists when a large number of people are present in an area with too few resources to share (2006). Overpopulation may be caused by high rates of birth and migration in a country (2006).

With few amounts of resources only a limited number of people can be supported through actions such as: herding, gathering, farming or hunting (Lusted, 2010). The issue of overpopulation resides in developing countries such as Africa and may not be a main cause of poverty in developed countries such as the United States and Europe (2006). One of the other main causes of poverty is lack of education. Education has always been an important factor leading to success (Wagner, 2008). Without an education it is a struggle to obtain a good paying job to help support loved ones (2006). In developing countries, the Government is unable to afford and provide resources to develop a good education (2006). Lack of education relates directly to lack of money, which is another factor contributing to poverty (Wagner, 2008).

Wars and other armed conflicts also contribute to a state of poverty (Lusted, 2010). Wars are a constant battle in Countries around the world (2006). These battles cause a decline in safety and may end up causing millions of dollars in damage to housing, farms and other necessary resources (Lusted, 2010). Individuals may be prohibited from residing in their homeland and may have to flee their country and settle somewhere else (Lusted, 2010). This leads to unwanted problems dealing with money loss, finding new jobs and shelter elsewhere (Lusted, 2010).

Causes of poverty may lead to serious and life threatening effects. Three of the main effects of poverty are: hunger, homelessness, and health. One of the most visible effects of poverty is hunger. Each year, more than 9 million people die due to hunger and malnutrition, five million of those being children (Shah, 2010). On an average day it is estimated that 25,000 people die due to hunger related issues, that is one person every three and a half seconds (Breen, 2011). Though there is plenty of food in the world for everyone, people living in poverty are unable to access their share of food (Breen, 2011). Hunger is directly related to chronic hunger (Kibet, 2011). Chronic hunger defines the people who suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, malnutrition, and do not meet the daily-required caloric intake (Kibet, 2011). People suffering from chronic hunger eventually experience death, due to illness, weakness, starvation and uncontrollable diseases (Kibet, 2011). A person is considered homeless when their primary home is an institution, homeless shelter or any public place that is not meant to be a residence (Lusted, 2010).

Homeless people often are found living in parks, malls, streets or stations (Lusted, 2010). Homeless people are not necessarily unemployed individuals (Lusted, 2010). In some circumstances people do not make enough money to afford to live in a home (Lusted, 2010). Homelessness has a direct effect of poverty (Lusted, 2010). When people are homeless they often seek no medical treatment, have no food to eat and have to live on others leftovers (Lusted, 2010). In some circumstances homelessness can also be fatal. Lusted, 2010, states that in 2003 a 50 year old man was found frozen to death in Detroit Michigan. In some parts of the world, charities and fundraisers are conducted to prevent these fatal instances from occurring. Living in poverty is directly related to bad health (Lusted, 2010).

People are unable to afford health care, medicine, clean water and sanitation (Kibet, 2011). Babies born into poverty suffer from many malfunctions because pregnant women do not have the right parental care they should receive (Lusted, 2010). With the high prices of food people living in poverty cannot afford to purchase healthy foods or enough foods to keep a healthy diet (Lusted, 2010). Without proper healthcare and diet people are immune to many health related issues that could eventually lead to death if not treated properly (Lusted, 2010).

There are many actions that can be taken to help out the people living in poverty and try to make poverty history. It is of nation’s best interest to reduce poverty around the world (Nasso, 2008). In developing countries both federal and local governments work to assist these people (Lusted, 2010). Ever since the Great Depression in 1935, which was a severe economic downturn, the government started to provide public assistance to those suffering (Lusted, 2010). The government helped to provide welfare, food stamps, and benefits to help with housing, health care, childcare and meals to those whose incomes feel below a certain level (Lusted, 2010). Organizations were created such as The World Bank, World Trade Organizations and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help ensure that developing countries around the world receive as much help as possible (Lusted, 2010). These organizations help improve economic growth by offering loans and providing jobs to the unemployed (Lusted, 2010).

In some area’s governments provide those living in poverty with homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries (Lusted, 2010). Other organizational groups such as churches, businesses, religious groups and schools also take action to try to assist the poor by conducting fundraisers, can drives and money donations, with all benefits helping the poor suffering from this devastating state of poverty (Lusted, 2010).

Poverty is a very complex and devastating issue. Many people fail to understand the reasons and complications associated with poverty. If individuals take these complications into consideration, as a whole can put a halt to all the suffering. Poverty is not unconquerable; the nation has made great strides to put an end to poverty in the past and hope to make even greater strides in the future to put an end to poverty (Nasso, 2008). Put yourself in the shoes of a child who is born into poverty, and who grows up without any fond memories, or all the privileges others are blessed with. If this stirs up sour emotions or sick feelings, just remember that everyone can make a small contribution to help out those individuals (Lusted, 2010).

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The Cause and Effect of Poverty. (2022, Nov 26). Retrieved from

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