Urban Poverty in India, Slamming the Slums
Challenges of urban poverty in India are intimately tied with challenges of the country’s fast development. Indian cities have come to dominate the charts as the world’s biggest cities for the first time in modern history. (Header photo courtesy of Akshay Mahajan)
Causes of Poverty in India: Traditions of Discrimination & Exclusion
The causes of poverty in India are nothing short of complex but a lot of progress has been made to tackle them. So, here we'll focus more specifically what’s been done to alleviate poverty so far and what is still holding things back.
Poverty in India: Causes, Effects, Injustice & Exclusion
Despite the country's meteoric GDP growth rate (about 9%), poverty in India is still pervasive; especially in rural areas where 70% of India’s 1.2 billion population live. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and yet its wealth is hardly redistributed across the population.
Poverty in the Philippines: Lack of Vision, Yet New Solutions?
Since 2010, reducing poverty in the Philippines has been an official objective of the government led by Benigno Aquino and less so by the newest government but it remains a priority. The country seems to be struggling however to maintain the healthy growth of 2010 (above 7%), which remains important to keep the country on the right path.
Poverty in Pakistan: Challenges of a Fast-Growing Population
Poverty in Pakistan spreads across a variety of issues: a very fast-growing population facing lack of education, jobs, technology, capital and investment. But the country is committed to tackling the problem and the poverty rate has fallen by more than 10% in the mid-2000s. That’s nearly 15 million people who were lifted out of poverty.
Poverty in China: Inequalities, Migrant Workers & Education
If extreme poverty in China is at a record low - thanks to the impressive economic development of the country since the 1990s - social tensions and mistrust in the government have never been that bad since the riots of 1989. We're nowhere near a new Tian'anmen, but the 90,000 protests and the millions of middle class Chinese who leave the country every year underline this issue.
Rural Poverty in Cambodia: Life after the Khmer Rouge
Poverty in Cambodia hasn’t always been that bad. In fact, in the 1950s the country was one of the most advanced economies in Southeast Asia. But today, the country counts among the poorest in the world by many economic and social indicators.
Poverty in Bangladesh: Innovations Against Exploitation
For decades, poverty in Bangladesh was more concentrated than any other place in the world. What does it mean? Simply that the country has one of the highest percentage of poor people per square mile.
Poverty in Asia: Is the Dragon Really Rising?
Poverty in Asia (including the Asia-Pacific region) is a widely disparate region to cover because of the gigantic differences between countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and the Philippines. As a consequence, no one should rely too much on any Asia-wide statistics on poverty because the region is just too diverse to be summed up in stats. The achievements of South Korea and China for example will most likely hide the issues in Cambodia or Vietnam for example.
US National Poverty Level: Reading Between the Lines
The US poverty line is a more and more irrelevant measure of the national poverty level – just like any other poverty line these days – and is increasingly criticized even by official agencies. Poverty lines are flawed and prone to manipulation for all sorts of political reasons; they’re also inappropriate at the national level because they do not account of the radical differences between different regions of a country, especially between cities and rural areas.
Poverty in the United States: Social Welfare vs the Market
In the latest 2011 report, the Census Bureau counted over 49 million people living in poverty in the United States. And the more poverty there is, the more it affects the economy and productivity. But if the economy is down, the number of jobs is shrinking too and so poverty in the US keeps on getting worse.
Poverty in Mexico: Economic Crises & 21st Century Welfare
With a GDP about the same as that of Spain, South Korea or Australia and yet a GDP per person of US$14,000 - 3 times as low as that of these countries - it's surprising to encounter so much poverty in Mexico. And yet, in the last 10 years its GDP per capita (i.e. per person) has literally doubled, so in a way things have got better. At least until the drug war broke out and the 2008 economic crisis made things more complicated.
Poverty in Latin America: Inequalities & Social Justice
The biggest characteristic of poverty in Latin America is inequality. This is mostly regarding the disproportionate income inequalities, but also inequality of access to basic services (water, electricity, education, etc…).
Poverty in Haiti: Aid, Earthquakes & Imperialism
With nearly half of the population living in extreme poverty in Haiti (and two thirds in “normal” poverty), the government and international organizations have their hands quite full with fighting inequalities, violence, social exclusion and increasing food prices.
Extreme Poverty in Cuba: Welfare in a Broke Country
The reasons poverty in Cuba has not been effectively tackled, despite very good prospects in recent years – up until the global recession - are mostly due to the way the government has dealt with reforming the economy of the country.
Poverty in Brazil, A Democracy in the Making
If extreme poverty in Brazil remains widespread, social policies introduced since the early days of democracy are slowly paying off and reducing poverty. As governments improve their strategies and increase access to education and health care, the country's economy is also taking off, offering prospects of a brighter future. However deep-seated issues such as discrimination remain a huge obstacle to solving the problem.
Poverty in America: Social Changes & Global Crises
Looking at poverty in the American continent is essential to better understand how the former colonies have evolved into radically different countries. Country by country, analyzing the social and economic paths taken, we can see the effects of discrimination, land ownership, wealth distribution & corruption.
Poverty in Sudan: The Oil Curse
The all-pervasive and desperate state of poverty in Sudan affects a population of 44 million inhabitants. With around 500 to 600 ethnic groups, the federal state of Sudan is the ethnically most diverse country in the world but also a pretty unstable one.
Poverty in South Africa: Resisting Globalization & Inequalities
The fight against poverty in South Africa is actually supported by the country's Constitution, through social security. While it's certainly not the first time that a constitution doesn't become reality - it tends to be an expression of a nation's ideals - but in this case, the country is quite far off that picture.
Poverty in Nigeria: Rich Country, Poor People
Poverty in Nigeria has been a problem for more than 50% of the population in the past 10 years, with surges over 60%. In 1980 however a little less than 30% of Nigerians were living below the poverty line.
Poverty in Kenya: Unemployment, Child Labor & HIV
Poverty in Kenya is fuelled by a diversity of factors: unemployment, child labor, HIV/AIDS epidemic, and an education system in failure (among other delicacies). Nevertheless, this 39 million people country has been one of the few in Africa to do pretty well in the 1970s-80s in terms of covering basic needs, thanks to several useful policies and its smallholder agriculture.
Poverty in Ethiopia: Roads & Food Chains
Despite the government recently showing signs of efforts to tackle poverty in Ethiopia, the country is still faced with an extent of widespread poverty that highlights how much there is still to do (and build). With over 80 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa, and one of the poorest in the world.
Diseases in Africa: Malaria, Tuberculosis & New Challenges
A deadly cocktail of poverty and diseases in Africa is responsible for millions of deaths each year. And the worst part is that these diseases are often easily preventable. While many are tend to think that huge disease outbreaks affect the whole continent, many countries are perfectly fine, and very deadly so-called "silent" diseases (e.g. cardiovascular) are on the rise.
Causes of Poverty in Africa: Lost Continent or Land of Opportunities?
Decade after decade, politicians and international organizations have failed to tackle poverty in Africa. Nor have they been able to help generate growth or build basic infrastructure. Between 1975 and 2000 it was the only place on earth where poverty has intensified. Since then things have been changing - and fast - but some countries still struggle more than others.
Top Online Documentaries & Films on Poverty
This is a collection of some of the best online documentaries about a broad range of topics, from politics to refugees, disasters, global warming, poverty and other social challenges that our societies face as a whole.
Urban Poverty & Slums: The Future of Poverty is Now
Urban poverty exists everywhere, although on different levels, from poor to rich countries. You recognise it in substandard living conditions and incomes along with deficient provision of basic public services (running water, electricity, etc).
Poverty Statistics & Graphs: Looking Beyond the Numbers
If poverty statistics tell a certain story, they mostly highlight the failure of governments in tackling the problem: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care." (article 25 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Defining the Poverty Line: Too Much Credit for a Bankrupt Tool?
Poverty lines are created to answer the question of how many people live in poverty within a country (or the world), and how bad the situation is for them. It's also useful to make comparisons between and within countries over the years. The most common type of surveys use household budgets to define a poverty guideline, differing mostly in whether they count a household’s expenses or needs. But is that really enough?
Relative vs Absolute Poverty: Why and How To Measure Poverty
Absolute poverty is the lack of one or more basic needs over a period long enough that it endangers your life or can cause it harm. As opposed to relative poverty, it covers vital and biological needs such as food, water, clothing, basic housing (or anything that looks like a decent roof over your head), and a minimum of sanitation.
What is Poverty? The Stakes of a Good Definition
An accurate definition of poverty is crucial to help organisations and governments understand which citizens and communities are most in need. Understanding what poverty is also helps us identify new and growing problems in our increasingly complex societies, such as social exclusion, mental health, violence or drug abuse.
Child Labour in South Africa & Sex Trafficking
Child labour in South Africa is a problem that can very quickly get out-of-hand. With nearly 1/3 of its population under 15 years old - nearly 15 million kids - if child labour is left unchecked and unchallenged, there is a risk that it spreads further across South Africa’s immense under-age population.
Child Labor in India: a Poverty of Schools?
Recent numbers show that, in proportion, child labor in India is declining (a little less than 5% of children). But when looking at absolute numbers, we see that more children than ever are faced with forced labor, which denies them the right to an education and a normal childhood.
Effects of Poverty on Society, Health, Children and Violence
Issues like hunger, illness and thirst are both causes and effects of poverty. While not having access to water means that you are poor, being poor also means that you may not be able to afford water or food either. In other words, issues such as housing, poor health, child abuse and neglect can be both a symptom and a cause of poverty later on.
Poverty and Crime: Breaking the Vicious Cycle
Poverty and crime have a very "intimate" relationship that has been described by experts from all fields, from sociologists to economists. The UN and the World Bank both rank crime high on the list of obstacles to a country’s development.
Causes of Poverty: The Impact of Society, Colonies and Discrimination
At first glance, the causes of poverty are quite overwhelming: from colonialism to industrialization, from political institutions to geography, corruption and so on. But they are also extremely interesting to examine closly if you want to better understand why countries are where they are today. Each cause is rooted in a radically different phenomenon and each needs a specific solution.
From Abuse to Homelessness, Child Poverty starts at Home
Tackling child poverty is a universal cause that everyone can gather around because they are always the victims of a situation created exclusively by adults. Sometimes they're born in the wrong place (due to conflicts, corrupt governments, etc), sometimes extreme situations put a huge strain on their parents and push them to the edge. It's time to get pro-poor programmes that focus on helping the parents cope with their problems and learn about parenting.
Family poverty & the feminisation of poverty
This article is a complement to our series on women in poverty, focusing mostly on developing countries, we'll look here at a more general picture of family poverty around the world. What challenges families face, the causes of poverty in children and women as well as the role of governments in helping them... or in making things worse.
Don't Ban Child Labour, Tackle Poverty Instead
There is an estimated 200 million children forced to work across the globe - 1 in 5 children worldwide. That’s without taking into account the other 150 million considered “economically active”, working part time jobs, sometimes just to help out a bit their families, sometimes because they don't have a choice.