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                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Image From  http://www.borgenproject.org                                                     


The Problem At Hand

     Poverty is and has been a growing concern for decades.  Millions of people around the world are starving, suffering, and dying everyday due to this tragedy. This is not a cultural occurrence; anyone can suffer from poverty. The rights to nutrition, clothing, clean water, and basic shelter are being violated and the world is feeling the repercussions.  Poverty has stricken the majority of the world and millions of Earth’s inhabitants are affected.   There isn't a 100% accurate way to depict how many people world wide are in a state of poverty, however, there could easily be close to one billion people in poverty around the world ("Causes of  Poverty").  While there are many organizations and efforts trying to help this occurrence, it continues to grow.




What Causes Poverty?

     Poverty can occur to anyone for any number of reasons. Losses are the most common way to get thrown in the downward spiral of economic stress ("Causes of  Poverty").   Many people are born into poverty or have little way of helping themselves. Natural disasters can be a damaging factor and can cause anyone to lose everything they've worked for.  Depending on how severe the state of poverty the citizen is in, it can be very difficult for the person to get a job, much less even be considered for one.  The causes of poverty are endless and can be sparked by almost anything.


Causes are indefinite and usually include, but are not limited to:

-Loss of jobs

-Economic and Demographic issues

-Trade Issues

-Land/Agricultural Issues

-Natural Disaster


-High Standards of Living and Costs of Living




      1. The United States: 

     Many people think that the United States is among the wealthiest countries.   This may be so, but the share of poverty is also at an all time high ("How Poor Are America's Poor?")  While we are spending millions of dollars to help other countries, people in the United States are going hungry, homeless, waterless and eventually dying.  While a handful of citizens that are considered "poor" in the United States are just below the poverty line, the majority of the "poor" citizens in America are homeless.  Efforts to help with poverty usually consist of soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc... but these only help the poor citizens temporarily and never truly eradicate the problem.



     -In 2007, 37.3 million people (12.5%) were in poverty. ("Hunger and Poverty...")

     -Millions of people in the United States are jobless and homeless. ("Hunger and Poverty...")

     -35.9 million people live below the poverty line ("Statistics on Poverty...")

     -3.5% of U.S households experience hunger.  9.6 million people live in these homes. ("Statistics on Poverty...")



Image From http://www.foodfirst.org


        2.  India:

     India is one of the poorest countries in the world.  Poverty in India is blamed on everything from the caste system to overpopulation. ["Poverty in India" (a)]  The way out of poverty for India would have to be  a level of higher education.  Everyday, people in India are forced to bathe in less than sanitary water, deal with harsh weather and poor crop growing conditions, try to provide for their families, and try to find sustainable jobs. ["Poverty in India" (b).]  Poverty is also not a good state to be in when Indian families have daughters and are expected to pay dowries when they get married.


          -Poverty in India is getting smaller but it is still a major issue. Rural Indians must depend on unpredictable agriculture incomes, while urban Indians rely on jobs that are usually very scarce. ["Poverty in India" (b).]

          -Even though the poverty rate is getting smaller, India still has the world’s largest number of poor people in a single country. Of its nearly 1 billion inhabitants, an estimated 350-400 million are below the poverty line. 75% of these people are in the rural areas. ["Poverty in India" (a).]

          -The division of resources and the division of wealth is very uneven in India.  This creates gaps between castes and those gaps create unfair choosing of jobs. ["Poverty in India" (a).]

          -The main causes of poverty in India are illiteracy, overpopulation, and protectionist policies which invented foreign investment in the country. ["Poverty in India" (a).]

          -Education could be the most helpful key to helping India out of its state of poverty.



         Image From http://www.southasia.oneworld.net 


      3.  Africa:

     Misuse of money, mismanagement of land, and lack of infrastructure are some of the reasons Africa is plagued with poverty.  Far from ideal conditions blast farmland and make it a barren desert, unfavorable for growing crops ("Child Poverty...").  Being one of the poorest countries in the world, the majority of the population is either stricken with disease or malnutrition.   Education and gender equality, among other things, would put Africa in the right direction off of the road of poverty.


            -Around 27-28% of children in Africa are underweight due to lack of food ("Child Poverty...")

           -Africa hosts the majority of the poorest countries in the world

           -Harsh environmental problems exacerbate the problem

          -Causes include lack of education, overpopulation, mismanagement of land, misused money

           -Ways to lower the poverty rate in Africa would be to achieve primary education, promote gender equality, and provide birth control to families.


               Image From http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/


                                                 Effect On The Individual

     One way that poverty can affect the individual is by placing an abnormal amount of stress on the person.  Constantly thinking about where the next meal is going to come from or where they're going to sleep at night creates a large amount of stress to be placed on just one individual.  The amount of stress would be even more if the person had a family to deal with.  Stress can cause sickness and other body-decaying emotions  ("Psyche, Science and Society"). 

Physically, a person suffering from poverty would be underweight due to malnourishment.  Their level of education wouldn't be very high and their overall demeanor would be quite low.  While it may be easy to say "get a job" to someone who is poor, it isn't nearly as easy as we might think.  When someone doesn't have decent clothes to interview in, any way to be contacted with, and perhaps a lack of education, jobs can be quite hard to find.





                                                                 Relief Efforts/Programs

Relief programs, much like the causes of poverty, are endless.  There are a multitude of organizations to improve states of poverty.  Some of the major organizations are, but, once again are not limited to: 


-The United Nations 

-The Hunger Project

-Feeding America

These projects offer aide to those in need.  They supply food, medicine, clean water, and education.

One of the services that UNICEF conducts is Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.  Children can go Trick-or-treating for spare change instead of candy.  All of the procedes go to other children who are in need.  This is one of the many services these organizations provide. Also, this is one of the services that anyone can participate in.





1. Shah, Anup. (March 22, 2009). Causes of Poverty. Retrieved from http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty


2. Rector, Robert. (August 27, 2007). How Poor Are America's Poor? Examining the Plague Of Poverty in America.  Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/welfare/bg2064.cfm


3. Poverty in India (a).Retrieved on September 21, 2009 from http://www.indiaonestop.com/povertyindia.htm


4. Poverty in India (b). Retrieved on  September 21, 2009 from http://www.economywatch.com/indianeconomy/poverty-in-india.html


5. Fight Poverty. (May 23, 2009). Child Poverty in Africa.  Retrieved from http://www.fightpoverty.mmbrico.com/facts/africa.html


6. Helping Men and Women End Their Own Hunger. Retrieved on September 22, 2009 from http://www.thp.org


7. Siddiqi, Samantha. (November 14, 2008). Statistics on Poverty and Food Wastage in America.  Retrieved from http://www.soundvision.com/Info/poor/statistics.asp


8. Feeding America. (September 22, 2009). Hunger and Poverty Statistics. Retreived From http://feedingamerica.org/faces-of-hunger/hunger-101/hunger-and-poverty-statistics.aspx


9. Soldz, Stephen. (March 31, 2009). Psyche, Science and Society.   Retrieved From http://psychoanalystsopposewar.org/blog/2009/03/31/stress-a-biological-link-between-childhood-poverty-and-adult-cognition/


Comments (1)

Kori Atwood said

at 11:49 am on Sep 25, 2009

Mariah, good start. You have done a good job with examples of places where this is a problem, but can you find any information about how poverty affects the individual (physically, psychologically, etc.)?

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