Poverty is the condition of a person when he/she cannot fulfill his/her basic needs of life such as food, clothing and shelter.
Essay on Poverty
We have provided below various essay on poverty in order to help students. Now-a-days, essays or paragraphs writing are common strategy followed by the teachers in the schools and colleges in order to enhance the skill and knowledge of students about any topic. All the poverty essay are written using very simple words under various words limit according to the need and requirement of students. They can select any of the essays given below according to their need and requirement in the class, any competition or exam.
Poverty Essay 1 (100 words)
Poverty is the state for any person of being extremely poor. It is the extreme situation when a person feels lack of essential items required to continue the life such as shelter, adequate food, clothing, medicines, etc. Some of the common reasons of poverty are like overpopulation, lethal and epidemic diseases, natural disasters, low agricultural output, lack of employment, castism in country, illiteracy, gender inequality, environmental problems, changing trends of economy in the country, lack of proper education, untouchability, limited or inadequate access of people to their rights, political violence, organized crime, corruption, lack of motivation, idleness, old social beliefs, etc. Poverty in India can be reduced by following effective solutions however needs individual efforts of all the citizens.
Poverty Essay 2 (150 words)
We can define poverty as the lack of food, proper shelter, clothing, medicines, education, and equal human rights. Poverty forces a person to remain hungry, without shelter, without clothes, education and proper rights. There are various causes of poverty in the country however solutions too but because of the lack of proper unity among Indian citizens to follow solutions, poverty is increasing badly day by day. Spread of epidemic diseases in any country is the reason of poverty as poor people cannot take care of their health and hygienic condition.
Poverty makes people unable to go to doctor, to go to school, how to read, to speak properly, to eat three times meal, to wear needed clothes, to purchase own house, to get paid properly for job, etc. Poverty forces a person to go towards illness as they drink unclean water, lives at dirty places, and eat improper meal. Poverty causes powerlessness and lack of freedom.
Poverty Essay 3 (200 words)
Poverty is just like a condition of slave when a person becomes unable to do anything according to his/her wish. It has many faces which changes according to the person, place and time. It can be described in many ways a person feel it or live it. Poverty is a situation which no one wants to live however has to carry it by custom, nature, natural disaster, or lack of proper education. The person lives it, generally wants to escape. Poverty is a call to action to the poor people to earn enough money to eat, have access to education, get adequate shelter, wear needed clothes, and protection from the social and political violence.
It is an invisible problem which affects a person and his/her social life very badly in many ways. Poverty is completely preventable problem however there are many reasons which carry and continue it from the past time. Poverty keeps a person lack of freedom, mental well-being, physical well-being, and security. It is very necessary for everyone to work jointly in order to remove poverty from the country and world to bring proper physical health, mental health, complete literacy, home for everyone, and other needed things to live a simple life.
Poverty Essay 4 (250 words)
Poverty is a human condition which brings despair, grief and pain in the human life. Poverty is the lack of money and all the things required to live a life in proper manner. Poverty makes a child unable to enter to the school in childhood and lives his/her childhood in an unhappy family. Poverty is the lack of few rupees to arrange bread and butter of two times daily, buy text books for kids, grief of parents responsible for the care of children, etc. We can define poverty in many ways. It is very common to see poverty in India because most people here cannot fulfill their basic necessities of the life. A huge percentage of population here is uneducated, hungry and without home and clothe. It is the main reason of the poor Indian economy. Because of the poverty, around half population in India is living a miserable life.
Poverty creates a situation in which people fail to get sufficient income so they cannot purchase necessary things. A poor man lives his/her life without any command over basic needs such as two times food, clean drinking water, clothing, house, proper education, etc. People who fail to maintain the minimum standard of living such as consumption and nutrition required for existence. There are various reasons of poverty in India however mal distribution of national income is also a reason. Low income group people are relatively poorer than the high income group. Children of the poor family never get chance of proper schooling, proper nutrition and happy childhood. The most important reasons of the poverty are illiteracy, corruption, growing population, poor agriculture, gap between poor and rich, etc.
Poverty Essay 5 (300 words)
Poverty represents poor quality of life, illiteracy, malnutrition, lack of basic needs, low human resource development, etc. It is a biggest challenge to the developing country especially in India. It is a phenomenon in which a section of people in the society cannot fulfill their basic necessities of life. It has seen some decline in the poverty level in the last five years (26.1% in 1999-2000 from 35.97% in 1993-94). It has also declined at state level such as in Orissa it has been declined to 47.15% from 48.56%, in Madhya Pradesh 37.43% from 43.52%, in UP 31.15% from 40.85%, and in West Bengal 27.02% from 35.66%. Instead of some decline in the poverty in India it is not the matter of happiness because the Indian BPL is still very large number (26 crore).
Poverty in India can be eradicated by the use of some effective programmes, however need a joint effort by everyone not by the government only. Government of India should make some effective strategies aiming to develop poor social sector through key components like primary education, population control, family welfare, job creation, etc especially in the rural areas.
What are Effects of Poverty
Some of the effects of poverty are like:
- Illiteracy: poverty makes people unable to get proper education because of the lack of money.
- Nutrition and diet: poverty causes insufficient availability of diet and inadequate nutrition which brings lots of lethal diseases and deficiency diseases.
- Child labor: it gives rise to the huge level illiteracy as the future of the country gets involved in the child labor at very low cost in their early age.
- Unemployment: unemployment causes poverty as it creates the lack of money which affects people’s daily life. It forces people to live unfulfilled life against their will.
- Social tensions: it creates social tension due to the income disparity between rich and poor.
- Housing problems: it creates the bad condition for people to live without home on the footpath, roadside, other open places, many members in one room, etc.
- Diseases: it gives rise to the various epidemic diseases as people with lack of money cannot maintain proper hygiene and sanitation. Also they cannot afford a doctor for the proper treatment of any disease.
- Feminization of poverty: poverty affects women’s life to a great extent because of the gender-inequality and keeps them deprived of the proper-diet, nutrition, medicines and treatment facility.
Poverty Essay 6 (400 words)
Poverty is a situation in which people remain deprived of basic necessities of life such as inadequacy of food, clothes, and shelter. Most of the people in India cannot get their two times meal properly, sleep at roadside and wear dirty and old clothes. They do not get proper and healthy nutrition, medicines, and other necessary things. Poverty in the urban India is increasing because of the increase in urban population as people from rural areas like to migrate to the cities and towns to get employment or do some financial activity. The income of around 8 crore urban people is below poverty line and 4.5 crore urban people is on borderline of poverty level. A huge number of people live in slum become illiterate. In spite of some initiatives there is no any satisfactory results shown regarding reduction of poverty.
Causes of Poverty
The main causes of poverty in India are growing population, poor agriculture, corruption, old customs, huge gap between poor and rich people, unemployment, illiteracy, epidemic diseases, etc. A huge percentage of people in India depend on agriculture which is poor and cause poverty. Generally people face shortage of food because of poor agriculture and unemployment. Ever growing population is also the reason of poverty in India. More population means more food, money and houses. In the lack of basic facilities, poverty grows more rapidly. Becoming extra rich and extra poor creates a huge widening gap between the rich and the poor people. Rich people are growing richer and poor people are growing poorer which creates an economic gap between the two.
Effects of Poverty
Poverty affects people’s life in many ways. There are various effects of poverty such as illiteracy, poor diet and nutrition, child labor, poor housing, poor life style, unemployment, poor hygiene, feminization of poverty, etc. Poor people cannot arrange a healthy diet, maintain good life style, home, nice clothes, proper education, etc because of the lack of money which creates a huge difference between rich and poor. This difference leads to the undeveloped country. Poverty forces small children to do work at low cost and help their family financially instead of going to the school.
Solutions to Eradicate Poverty
It is very necessary to solve the problem of poverty on urgent basis for the goodness of humanity on this planet. Some of the solutions that can play great role in solving the problem of poverty are:
- Farmers should get proper and required facilities for good agriculture as well as to make it profitable.
- Adult people who are illiterate should be given required training for the betterment of life.
- Family planning should be followed by the people in order to check the ever-rising population and thus poverty.
- Corruption should be ended all over the world to reduce the poverty.
- Each and every child should go to the school and take proper education.
- There should be ways of employment where people of all categories can work together.
Poverty is not only the problem of a person however it is a national problem. It must be solved on urgent basis by implementing some effective solutions. Variety of steps has been taken by the government to reduce poverty however no clear results are seen. Eradication of poverty is necessary for the sustainable and inclusive growth of people, economy, society and country. Eradication of poverty can be done effectively by the unite effort of each and every person.
More on Poverty
Slogans on Poverty
[The following is excerpted from The Forest and The Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, rev. ed. For more information click here.]
ollowing the course of major social problems such as poverty, drug abuse, violence, and oppression, it often seems that nothing works. Government programs come and go as political parties swing us back and forth between stock answers whose only effect seems to be who gets elected. If anything, the problems get worse, and people feel increasingly helpless and frustrated or, if the problems don’t affect them personally, often feel nothing much at all.
As a society, then, we are stuck, and we’ve been stuck for a long time. One reason we’re stuck is that the problems are huge and complex. But on a deeper level, we tend to think about them in ways that keep us from getting at their complexity in the first place. It is a basic tenet of sociological practice that to solve a social problem we have to begin by seeing it as social. Without this, we look in the wrong place for explanations and in the wrong direction for visions of change.
Consider, for example, poverty, which is arguably the most far-reaching, long-standing cause of chronic suffering there is. The magnitude of poverty is especially ironic in a country like the United States whose enormous wealth dwarfs that of entire continents. More than one out of every six people in the United States lives in poverty or near-poverty. For children, the rate is even higher. Even in the middle class there is a great deal of anxiety about the possibility of falling into poverty or something close to it – through divorce, for example, or simply being laid off as companies try to improve their competitive advantage, profit margins, and stock prices by transferring jobs overseas.
How can there be so much misery and insecurity in the midst of such abundance? If we look at the question sociologically, one of the first things we see is that poverty doesn’t exist all by itself. It is simply one end of an overall distribution of income and wealth in society as a whole. As such, poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and an ongoing consequence of how the system is organized and the paths of least resistance that shape how people participate in it.
The system we have for producing and distributing wealth is capitalist. It is organized in ways that allow a small elite to control most of the capital – factories, machinery, tools – used to produce wealth. This encourages the accumulation of wealth and income by the elite and regularly makes heroes of those who are most successful at it – such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates. It also leaves a relatively small portion of the total of income and wealth to be divided among the rest of the population. With a majority of the people competing over what’s left to them by the elite, it’s inevitable that a substantial number of people are going to wind up on the short end and living in poverty or with the fear of it much of the time. It’s like the game of musical chairs: since the game is set up with fewer chairs than there are people, someone has to wind up without a place to sit when the music stops.
In part, then, poverty exists because the economic system is organized in ways that encourage the accumulation of wealth at one end and creates conditions of scarcity that make poverty inevitable at the other. But the capitalist system generates poverty in other ways as well. In the drive for profit, for example, capitalism places a high value on competition and efficiency. This motivates companies and their managers to control costs by keeping wages as low as possible and replacing people with machines or replacing full-time workers with part-time workers. It makes it a rational choice to move jobs to regions or countries where labor is cheaper and workers are less likely to complain about poor working conditions, or where laws protecting the natural environment from industrial pollution or workers from injuries on the job are weak or unenforced. Capitalism also encourages owners to shut down factories and invest money elsewhere in enterprises that offer a higher rate of return.
These kinds of decisions are a normal consequence of how capitalism operates as a system, paths of least resistance that managers and investors are rewarded for following. But the decisions also have terrible effects on tens of millions of people and their families and communities. Even having a full-time job is no guarantee of a decent living, which is why so many families depend on the earnings of two or more adults just to make ends meet. All of this is made possible by the simple fact that in a capitalist system most people neither own nor control any means of producing a living without working for someone else.
To these social factors we can add others. A high divorce rate, for example, results in large numbers of single-parent families who have a hard time depending on a single adult for both childcare and a living income. The centuries-old legacy of racism in the United States continues to hobble millions of people through poor education, isolation in urban ghettos, prejudice, discrimination, and the disappearance of industrial jobs that, while requiring relatively little formal education, nonetheless once paid a decent wage. These were the jobs that enabled many generations of white European immigrants to climb out of poverty, but which are now unavailable to the masses of urban poor.
Clearly, patterns of widespread poverty are inevitable in an economic system that sets the terms for how wealth is produced and distributed. If we’re interested in doing something about poverty itself – if we want a society largely free of impoverished citizens – then we’ll have to do something about both the system people participate in and how they participate in it. But public debate about poverty and policies to deal with it focus almost entirely on the latter with almost nothing to say about the former. What generally passes for ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ approaches to poverty are, in fact, two variations on the same narrow theme of individualism.
A classic example of the conservative approach is Charles Murray’s book Losing Ground. Murray sees the world as a merry-go-round. The goal is to make sure that “everyone has a reasonably equal chance at the brass ring – or at least a reasonably equal chance to get on the merry-go-round.” He reviews thirty years of federal antipoverty programs and notes that they’ve generally failed. He concludes from this that since government programs haven’t worked, poverty must not be caused by social factors.
Instead, Murray argues, poverty is caused by failures of individual initiative and effort. People are poor because there’s something lacking in them, and changing them is therefore the only effective remedy. From this he suggests doing away with public solutions such as affirmative action, welfare, and income support systems, including “AFDC, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the rest. It would leave the working-aged person with no recourse whatsoever except the job market, family members, friends, and public or private locally funded services.” The result, he believes, would “make it possible to get as far as one can go on one’s merit.” With the 1996 welfare reform act, the United States took a giant step in Murray’s direction by reaffirming its long-standing cultural commitment to individualistic thinking and the mass of confusion around alternatives to it.
The confusion lies in how we think about individuals and society, and about poverty as an individual condition and as a social problem. On the one hand, we can ask how individuals are sorted into different social class categories, what characteristics best predict who will get the best jobs and earn the most. If you want to get ahead, what’s your best strategy? Based on many people’s experience, the answers come fast and easy: work hard, get an education, never give up.
There is certainly a lot of truth in this advice, and it gets to the issue of how people choose to participate in the system as it is. Sociologically, however, it focuses on only one part of the equation by leaving out the system itself. In other words, it ignores the fact that social life is shaped both by the nature of systems and how people participate, by the forest and the trees. Changing how individuals participate may affect outcomes for some. As odd as this may seem, however, this has relatively little to do with the larger question of why widespread poverty exists at all as a social phenomenon.
Imagine for a moment that income is distributed according to the results of a footrace. All of the income in the United States for each year is put into a giant pool and we hold a race to determine who gets what. The fastest fifth of the population gets 48 percent of the income to divide up, the next fastest fifth splits 23 percent, the next fastest fifth gets 15 percent, the next fifth 10 percent, and the slowest fifth divides 4 percent. The result would be an unequal distribution of income, with each person in the fastest fifth getting nine times as much money as each person in the slowest fifth, which is what the actual distribution of income in the United States looks like.
If we look at the slowest fifth of the population and ask, “Why are they poor?” An obvious answer is, “They didn’t run as fast as everyone else, and if they ran faster, they’d do better.” This prompts us to ask why some people run faster than others, and to consider all kinds of answers from genetics to nutrition to motivation to having time to work out to being able to afford a personal trainer.
But to see why some fifth of the population must be poor no matter how fast people run, all we have to do is look at the system itself. It uses unbridled competition to determine not only who gets fancy cars and nice houses, but who gets to eat or has a place to live or access to health care. It distributes income and wealth in ways that promote increasing concentrations among those who already have the most. Given this, the people in this year’s bottom fifth might run faster next year and get someone else to take their place in the bottom fifth.
But there has to be a bottom fifth so long as the system is organized as it is. Learning to run faster may keep you or me out of poverty, but it won’t get rid of poverty itself. To do that, we have to change the system along with how people participate in it. Instead of splitting the ‘winnings’ into shares of 48 percent, 23 percent, 15 percent, 10 percent, and 4 percent, for example, we might divide them into shares of 24 percent, 22 percent, 20 percent, 18 percent, and 16 percent. There would still be inequality, but the fastest fifth would get only 1.5 times as much as the bottom instead of 12 times as much, and 1.2 times as much as the middle fifth rather than more than 3 times as much.
People can argue about whether chronic widespread poverty is morally acceptable or what an acceptable level of inequality might look like. But if we want to understand where poverty comes from, what makes it such a stubborn feature of social life, we have to begin with the simple sociological fact that patterns of inequality result as much from how social systems are organized as they do from how individuals participate in them. Focusing on one without the other simply won’t do it.
The focus on individuals is so entrenched, however, that even those who think they’re taking social factors into account usually aren’t. This is as true of Murray’s critics as it is of Murray himself. Perhaps Murray’s greatest single mistake is to misinterpret the failure of federal antipoverty programs. He assumes that federal programs actually target the social causes of poverty, which means that if they don’t work, social causes must not be the issue. But he’s simply got it wrong. Welfare and other antipoverty programs are ‘social’ only in the sense that they’re organized around the idea that social systems like government have a responsibility to do something about poverty. But antipoverty programs are not organized around a sociological understanding of how systems produce poverty in the first place. As a result, they focus almost entirely on changing individuals and not systems, and use the resources of government and other systems to make it happen.
If antipoverty programs have failed, it isn’t because the idea that poverty is socially caused is wrong. They’ve failed because policymakers who design them don’t understand what makes the cause of something ‘social.’ Or they understand it but are so trapped in individualistic thinking that they don’t act on it by targeting systems such as the economy for serious change.
The easiest way to see this is to look at the antipoverty programs themselves. They come in two main varieties. The first holds individuals responsible by assuming that financial success is solely a matter of individual qualifications and behavior. In other words, if you just run faster, you’ll finish the race ahead of people who are currently beating you, and then they’ll be poor instead of you. We get people to run faster by providing training and motivation. What we don’t do, however, is look at the rules of the race or question whether the basic necessities of life should be distributed through competition.
The result is that some people rise out of poverty by improving their competitive advantage, while others sink into it when their advantages no longer work and they get laid off or their company relocates to another country or gets swallowed up in a merger that boosts the stock price for shareholders and earns the CEO a salary that in 2005 averaged more than 262 times the average worker’s pay. But nothing is even said – much less done – about an economic system that allows a small elite to own and control most of the wealth and sets up the rest of the population to compete over what’s left.
And so, individuals rise and fall in the class system, and the stories of those who rise are offered as proof of what’s possible, and the stories of those who fall are offered as cautionary tales. The system itself, however, including the huge gap between the wealthy and everyone else and the steady proportion of people living in poverty, stays much the same.
A second type of program seems to assume that individuals aren’t to blame for their impoverished circumstances, because it reaches out with various kinds of direct aid that help people meet day-to-day needs. Welfare payments, food stamps, housing subsidies, and Medicaid all soften poverty’s impact, but they do little about the steady supply of people living in poverty. There’s nothing wrong with this in that it can alleviate a lot of suffering. But it shouldn’t be confused with solutions to poverty, no more than army field hospitals can stop wars.
In relation to poverty as a social problem, welfare and other such programs are like doctors who keep giving bleeding patients transfusions without repairing the wounds. In effect, Murray tells us that federal programs just throw good blood after bad. In a sense, he’s right, but not for the reasons he offers. Murray would merely substitute one ineffective individualistic solution for another. If we do as he suggests and throw people on their own, certainly some will find a way to run faster than they did before. But that won’t do anything about the ‘race’ or the overall patterns of inequality that result from using it as a way to organize one of the most important aspects of human life.
Liberals and conservatives are locked in a tug of war between two individualistic solutions to problems that are only partly about individuals. Both approaches rest on profound misunderstandings of what makes a problem like poverty ‘social.’ Neither is informed by a sense of how social life actually works as a dynamic relation between social systems and how people participate in those systems. This is also what traps them between blaming problems like poverty on individuals and blaming them on society. Solving social problems doesn’t require us to choose or blame one or the other. It does require us to see how the two combine to shape the terms of social life and how people actually live it.
Because social problems are more than an accumulation of individual woes, they can’t be solved through an accumulation of individual solutions. We must include social solutions that take into account how economic and other systems really work. We also have to identify the paths of least resistance that produce the same patterns and problems year after year. This means that capitalism can no longer occupy its near-sacred status that holds it immune from criticism. It may mean that capitalism is in some ways incompatible with a just society in which the excessive well-being of some does not require the misery of so many others. It won’t be easy to face up to such possibilities, but if we don’t, we will guarantee poverty its future and all the conflict and suffering that go with it.
From The Forest and The Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, rev. ed. For more information click here.