What does it mean to be poor? Why should we care about poverty?

Essay by GretchinSchintzelUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 2014

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The notion of what it means to be poor cannot easily be defined and is to some extent subjective. One's definition varies, and as is often dependent on the social, cultural and political experience of the individual or the greater society can be contrastingly diverse. Research shows there appear to be extremes for both poverty and poor. To be poor living in a highly developed industrialized capitalist consumer driven society could mean buying designer brands once a month as opposed to every day or week, whereas to be poor in a developing rural agrarian dependant society, perhaps in drought, has shown predominantly in India, mass suicide as farmers struggles to feed their families and pay off debts. Poverty when broken into categories, 'Extreme poverty', 'Absolute Poverty' or 'Relative poverty' demonstrates these extremes.

For the purpose of this essay, Poor will be defined as not having enough money for the basic things that people need to live properly.

'Extreme Poverty' is defined as the very poorest of the poor, or those living on less than $1 a day whereas 'Absolute Poverty' is the absolute number of people below the defined poverty line, currently $1.25 a day. It is important to recognise the effect location has on these poverty lines and that the concept of the poverty line is not always a reliable indicator of poverty. In that respect we also have 'Relative Poverty'; the level of poverty based on the society in question which also reflects the distribution of income. Additionally, regardless of where poor people live, there are at least six dimensions of poverty; hunger, psychological dimensions, inadequate infrastructure, low levels of literacy, health problems, and inadequate income. Mr Micawber, a character from Charles...