What Is The Meaning Of Poverty And Causes Of Poverty?

Social Studies

  • Meaning Of Poverty
  • Causes Of Poverty

Meaning Of Poverty

Poverty is a global phenomenon, but the degree or levels vary among nations in line with their levels of development.

Poverty is a condition of extreme want and lack of basic necessities of life. It is a state of abject desire for human basic needs, characterized by, inability to provide good food and nutrition, medical care, education, clothing and good shelter and to contribute to community development.

Poverty renders people helpless and hopeless, unimportant and sub-serviant.

Causes Of Poverty

The causes of poverty can be classified as follows:

1. Low level of acquired skills
2. Extended family system-family size
3. Bad governance
4. Spending habits
5. Level of literacy
6. Untapped natural resources
7. Environmental factors
8. Health factor

1. Low Level Of Acquired Skills: A skilled worker is important to society, because people or organisations would require his/her services to pay for it. That is why skilled workers like mechanics, masons, welders, hair dressers, electricians, etc are in regular demand. So skill acquisition creates employment and wealth. On the contrary an unskilled worker is a menial hand in a work place. He can be dispensed with easily, because he is not important. Therefore poverty level is related to the level of skill acquisition.

2. Low Level Of Literacy: This has to do with the level of education of an individual attains. Education conquers poverty. Countries or societies with high literacy levels are wealthy because the level of unemployment is controlled. On the other hand, countries with high incidence of illiteracy have a high population of poverty stricken persons.

3. Bad Governance: Bad governance has to do with bad leadership. Bad governance is characterized by lack of infrastructure, good roads, electricity, water, medical or health care, good shelter for citizens etc. All these are the indices of poverty. Bad leadership subjects harsh conditions of life to the citizens.

4. Spending Habits: To live within one’s means is a self discipline and self respects. Some persons like to live above their means of income, such persons would always lack the basic necessities of life, i.e. remains poor.

5. Family Size/Factor: This condition is made worse by the extended family system we practice in Nigeria. Related to this population explosion, which may lead to scarcity of good and services and poverty on a mass level. Children from poor homes often turn out to be drop-outs and engage in deviant conducts which affect the society.

6. Untapped Resources: This has to do with natural endowments and talents which individuals have. Some persons are naturally gifted or endowed to perform tasks and skills. Some are gifted to use their hands, some their brain. Some are artistic and pragmatic, while some are innovative and very creative. It is therefore important that parents discover the talents which children are endowed with, so as to harness and exploit them for their benefits.

When human resources are harnessed and tapped, individuals become skilled and experts in different vocations and trades. This helps to alleviate or fight poverty in society. Untapped human resources on the other hand, render individuals ill equipped to face the challenges of life.

7. Environmental Factors: Certain environmental factors like natural disasters, such as earthquake, landslide, flood, erosion, desert encroachment can devastate the economic life and means of livelihood of the people. This renders them poor and unemployed.

8. Health Factors: When disease becomes endemic or widespread in society, it can create poverty among the people. Treatment of diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, leprosy, cholera, high blood pressure, diabetes are very financial involving. This depletes wealth and financial resources of victims and renders them poor. A person ravaged by ill health, can not engage in meaningful economic activity to earn a living. This makes the person to become dependent. Dependent persons need others to survive.

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