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To start with, it should be noted that poverty – is one of those global challenges, the search for the answer to which the international community will look for more than a decade. It is the primary cause or it is associated, aggravating factor of many other global problems. At the same time it is itself a product of several factors operating at the global level.

Section Heading
The article I reviewed states that poverty is a phenomenon an order. It is projected on the economy, social relations, politics, culture, and direct impact on such basic characteristics of a person’s life, like health and education. It is therefore important to understand what constitutes poverty in recent decades, what will happen to her in the near future (Causes of poverty, 2011). Poverty is also a condition in which the basic needs of an individual or family exceed the available funds to meet them.

Poverty is relative, it depends:

  • From the general standard of living in a particular society;
  • The distribution of social wealth;
  • The status of systems and social expectations.

Poverty reflects the state needs, the lack of the necessaries of life, not allowing the urgent needs of the individual or family. Poverty is one of the most pressing social problems of modern society.

As a condition of the hungry poor living there for centuries, it was considered a very common phenomenon inherent in the vast majority of the population. In Asia, the ancient and feudal societies, there was the division between rich and poor little dependent on the personal abilities of man: the level of needs and opportunities to satisfy them depended on the estate and the legal status of the individual. Different social groups had different ways of life, so the inability to lower social classes follow a prestigious way of life perceived as higher strata of customary norm. In a capitalist society it first emerged as the contrast between the legal equality of all citizens and the actual strong economic inequality. Therefore impossible for one to live as others live, it is perceived as a social injustice (Poverty reduction, 2010).

Among government measures to reduce poverty emit: creating conditions for growth and, accordingly, thereby increasing the income of the population, maintaining macroeconomic stability, an anti-inflationary policy, establishing a minimum wage, development of social programs and mechanisms for their implementation.

Poor people are the consequence of the diverse and interrelated causes that unite the following groups: economic (unemployment, low wages, low productivity, lack of competitiveness of the industry), socio-medical (disability, old age, high levels of morbidity), demographic (single-parent families, a large number of dependents in the family), socio-economic (low level of social guarantees), educational qualifications (low education, lack of training), political (military conflicts, forced migration), and regional and geographical (the uneven development of regions).

Second Section Heading
In world practice there are three basic concepts and definitions of poverty:
The concept of absolute poverty is closely linked with the concept of poverty. Poverty line (poverty threshold, poverty line) – this is the level of disposable income, gross income or consumption below which a person is considered poor. Absolute poverty is often measured as the number of people or households whose level of consumption or income below the poverty line (Make poverty history, 2011).

In the poverty line as an indicator, there is one major drawback: it does not take into account the number of households that are directly above it with a small detachment from it. We should also mention that it allows to exist a situation where poverty and inequality are rising and the number of people below the poverty line is reduced.

The relative concept of poverty, in contrast the absolute leads to poverty. Measures of relative poverty exhibit the relative poverty line and try on her income. In the case where the real incomes of the population grow, but their distribution does not change, relative poverty remain the same. Thus, the concept of relative poverty is a component of the concept of inequality. However, this does not mean that less equality always means a lower relative poverty, or vice versa.

Measure of relative poverty may show, for example, how many people are living below the medial quarter. This approach is particularly useful in identifying poverty in unfamiliar societies or where difficult to carry out the valuation of a certain set of values. Comparison of income from shares of fashion and the harmonic mean – additional research tools stratification of society.

The founder of the relative concept of poverty is P. Townsend, who saw poverty as a condition in which the lack of economic resources management familiar to most members of the public life becomes impossible. His analysis of poverty are based on the concept he set the test of hardship, deprivation, multidimensional, which he saw as “a state of observable and demonstrable disadvantage of the individual, family or group on the background of the community, society and nation as a whole.”

The concept of multidimensional deprivation was introduced by Townsend, because in addition to material deprivation, including indicators such as food, clothing, housing, consumer durables, location and condition of habitat, the conditions and nature of work, he used indicators of social deprivation, including nature of employment, especially for leisure, education, etc.

Currently, under this definition of poverty has developed in two directions.
The first focuses on the livelihood, the ability to buy the goods necessary to satisfy basic needs. In this case, the design of relative poverty indicator measures the median and personal disposable income. In the U.S. border relative poverty corresponds to 40% of median income, in most European countries – 50% in Scandinavia – 60%.

The second direction, known as civil law theory of poverty, poverty is measured in terms of deprivation in the broadest sense of the word. In this case, considering whether to allow disposable means to participate fully in society, based on certain basic sets accounted for deprivation (Poverty, 2011).

The extent of relative poverty does not coincide with the extent of absolute poverty. Absolute poverty can be eradicated, but the relative poverty is always conserved, due to the fact that inequality is an essential feature of stratified societies. Relative poverty persists or even increases, when the living standards of all social classes increased.

Third Section Heading
The subjective concept of poverty. Subjective poverty – poverty is a concept that is based on the belief that only the individual can determine whether he is poor. To determine the level of subjective poverty, there are many approaches: you can see how many people consider themselves poor. You can identify the subjective absolute poverty line, based on public opinion, and then compare it with income.

However, in calculations of the poverty level of consumption, there are some disadvantages, such as in northern climates with severe winters consumption may vary slightly or not less than income. Sometimes the poverty line takes a minimum level of income or accumulated wealth, in which the individual provided certain financial services or mortgage loans.

With the emergence of welfare states, today the poor are living in Western countries is incomparably better than the poor of Victorian times. The social composition of the poor changed over time, for example in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s, they were pensioners and single parents, and in 1980 it was mostly families with children.

Use a single parameter (gain) in the definition often leads to paradoxical situations, such as retired people who own fully paid real estate (for example, house, payment for which the family was doing 20 years, or land) fall into the category of the poor. Today, the cost of industrial products is very low, and the poor has become possible to purchase goods such as TV, computer or mobile phone at the same time, the cost of services and rents are high.

So today, sociologists consider several alternative definitions of poverty, the most common are: the inability to acquire or have access to the basic basket of services. List of services out of the basket are different, such as the United States, it includes medical insurance, a bank account in Britain, where health care is covered by the state (Poverty, 2011).

Poverty – is a condition caused by lack of material resources to conduct a normal life, which is a common and characteristic for a large part of society.

You can distinguish the following groups of poverty:

  1. Families with employees who have low wages and defaults, especially in rural areas and small towns, including the unemployed, which form the so-called “economic poverty” and the “new poor”;
  2. Single pensioners or family pensioners with dependents;
  3. Traditional poverty: incomplete and large families, disabled persons and persons with disabilities.

Poverty is caused by low quality of life due to low incomes or poor estate, especially housing, security of people. At the same time, the reasons for the low income levels are such personality characteristics as poor health, inadequate education, lack of competitiveness in the labor market, poor quality of family life, disability and limitations in other social settings.

In world practice there are three key concepts in the approach to defining poverty:

  • The concept of absolute poverty is based on the definition of income required for basic subsistence needs of the individual or family. It is determined by the official poverty level.
  • The concept of relative poverty is used as the main criterion for the minimum human needs, and the ratio measure of its wealth to the level of material security, prevailing in a particular country. With this approach, the poor are those whose income does not exceed a certain percentage of the national median income (40, 50 or 60%).
  • The subjective concept of poverty based on the subjective determination of funds needed for an acceptable level of social life.



All in all, social poverty is identified primarily with the traditionally poor and poorly protected population groups (large and incomplete families with children, lone pensioners, disabled people) experiencing greater dependency burden and the special difficulties in finding jobs. It should be noted that economic poverty – is a concept referring to the able-bodied citizens who are not currently providing a socially acceptable standard of living, and determined by the conditions of the labor market (unemployment, precarious employment, the prevalence of low-wage jobs, etc.).



Causes of poverty (2011). Retrieved November 29, 2011 from http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty
Make poverty history (2011). Retrieved November 29, 2011 from http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/takeaction/
Poverty (2011). Retrieved November 29, 2011 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/poverty
Poverty (2011). Retrieved November 29, 2011 from http://www.policyalmanac.org/social_welfare/poverty.shtml
Poverty reduction (2010). Retrieved November 29, 2011 from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/0,,menuPK:336998~pagePK:149018~piPK:149093~theSitePK:336992,00.html