Living on less than $3 a day seems unrealistic to the majority of us. But for almost 800 million individuals worldwide, it is the truth. Around 10% of the world’s population is considered to be living in severe poverty, which is defined as earning less than $1.90 per day.
The good news is this: This number was 1.8 billion in 1990. We have advanced. However, in recent years we have also started to go backwards; in 2019, estimates put the number of people living in severe poverty closer to 600 million. Conflict and climate change have both slowed down development. The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the world economy only made matters worse.
Both a universal cause of poverty and a universal cure do not exist. In actuality, a number of variables work together to cause poverty in the majority of situations. It is essential to comprehend these elements and how they interact if we are to overcome poverty in a sustainable manner.
What initially results in poverty? The following causative factors:
Let’s begin with something both easy and challenging: The idea of inequality is not too difficult to comprehend. Inequality occurs when one group in a community is treated differently from others in terms of rights and resources based on a characteristic of that group’s identity. This exclusion may be motivated by caste, aptitude, age, health, social standing, or—most frequently and pervasively—gender. But the mechanism through which inequality fuels poverty is a little more complicated. People have less possibilities to advance in life when they are granted fewer rights or possessions according to their ethnicity or tribe membership. Especially when women have less rights regarding their health and economic power, we frequently see this in gender inequality. Equality isn’t even a relative concept in this situation. It makes no difference whether someone has more. The fact that someone else is lacking is what matters.
This is particularly destructive when danger and inequality are present, which is the fundamental formula Concern uses to comprehend the cycle of poverty. The resources accessible to a widow raising a family of five won’t be the same as those to her husband. Her limited resources are put under stress if she lives in a region that is susceptible to the effects of climate change. This is more often the norm than the exception in several nations. We must take into account each group in a community while addressing inequity. Additionally, in order to achieve equality, we must focus on equality of outcomes rather than equality of resources.
One of the most prevalent types of risk causing poverty today is violence. As we’ve seen in places like Syria, widespread, ongoing violence can bring civilization to a standstill, devastate infrastructure, and force people to escape (often with nothing but the clothes on their backs). Syria’s middle class has virtually disappeared ten years into the conflict, and more than 80% of the population now lives below the poverty line. However, even little acts of violence can have a significant negative effect on already troubled communities. For instance, farmers won’t invest in planting if they fear that their harvests will be stolen. Inequality is added to all conflict because women suffer the most from it: Households with a female head of home are more prevalent during violent times. And because women frequently struggle to find well-paying employment and frequently aren’t included in local decision-making, their families are particularly at risk.
- Inadequate Education
Lack of education is the third main factor in poverty. Without education, individuals are unable to break the cycle of poverty and improve their lives. More than 170 million people might escape severe poverty, according to UNESCO, if they only possessed rudimentary reading abilities. However, education is not widely available in many parts of the world. The causes differ. Families frequently require their children to work, there aren’t any nearby schools, or females aren’t getting the education they need due to sexism and prejudice.
- Poor Infrastructure
Public transportation, the internet, highways, and bridges are all examples of infrastructure. When a group or family is dispersed, it costs them a lot of money, time, and effort to travel. It takes a while to go without excellent roads. Without access to public transportation, finding a suitable job or even going to the grocery store may be nearly difficult. Without infrastructure, individuals cannot access the resources and services they require to improve their financial and personal circumstances.
- Poor Healthcare Systems
Extreme poverty and ill health are frequently related. Malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections are examples of easily curable conditions that can be lethal in nations with inadequate health systems, especially for young children. And when individuals have to travel long distances to clinics or pay for medicine, it depletes the resources of already vulnerable households and can push a family into abject poverty. Pregnancy and delivery may be a death sentence for some women. Poor access to high-quality maternity healthcare exists in many of the nations where Concern operates. When seeking care, expectant and nursing moms must overcome a variety of obstacles, from being denied access to clinics without a male chaperone to receiving subpar or violent treatment from medical professionals. Pregnant women and their unborn children are at a greater risk for illness and death because of this, especially adolescent females aged 18 and under.
- Climate Change
Hunger, conflict, inequality, and a lack of education are just a few of the causes of poverty that are interconnected by climate change, which also contributes to severe poverty (see below). According to one World Bank analysis, nearly 100 million people might fall into poverty over the following ten years as a result of the climate catastrophe. For food and income, many of the world’s poorest people depend on farming or hunting and gathering. For instance, Malawi has an 80% agricultural population. They frequently don’t have enough food or resources to continue into the following season, and they don’t have adequate reserves to fall back on in case of a bad crop. Therefore, when a natural catastrophe or the effects of climate change leave millions of people without food, it can make recovery much more challenging. This includes severe droughts brought on by El Nio.
- Lack Of Governmental Capacity
Social welfare services that people can contact if they need medical treatment or food help are well known to many Americans. However, not every government is able to offer its citizens this kind of support; without that safety net, there is nothing to prevent vulnerable families from relapsing further into extreme poverty in the event of a crisis. Several of the other reasons of severe poverty listed above are also a result of ineffective governments since they are unable to provide the required infrastructure or guarantee the safety and security of their inhabitants in times of war.
To sum up, the aforementioned issues are the primary causes of world poverty. Every country should make an effort to get beyond these barriers and endeavor to do away with them.