The condition characterized by lack of basic human needs as a result of inability to afford them is referred to as absolute poverty. The 'needs' in this case range from drinking water and shelter to basic health care and education. As opposed to absolute poverty, relative poverty is when the affected people have lesser resources as compared to others in the society.
According to the UNICEF's 2015 Child Mortality Report, 5.9 million children below the age of five succumb to poverty each day. Some of the most common causes of poverty include overpopulation, unequal distribution of resources, unemployment, etc. Some of its most obvious effects include health problems, homelessness, and illiteracy. A couple of these effects, like health problems and illiteracy, can also act as causes and worsen the condition.
How Does Poverty Affect the Society?
If the data compiled by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is to be believed, as many as 805 million people across the world were chronically undernourished during the 2012 - 2014 period. Surprisingly though, 13.5 percent of these 805 million people live in developing countries.
The problem of hunger and food shortage is not restricted to the third world countries. If the United States Census Bureau is to be believed, 14.7 million American children lived in poverty in 2013, and thus, didn't have access to sufficient nutritious food.
A significant portion of people below the poverty line cannot afford to have a proper dwelling, and thus, have no option, but to 'sleep rough'.~ More than 100 million people are homeless in the world as of today, with some sources suggesting that the number far exceeds the 300 million mark.
Around ⅓ of the total number of deaths in the world, which roughly amounts to 18 million people, every year are attributed to diseases of poverty. These include diseases like AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, measles, pneumonia, etc.
Poor health due to poor economic conditions is not restricted to physical disorders alone. Poor people have been notes to fall prey to diseases, which can push people into more poverty, including a range of mental illnesses which hinder the person's ability to work.
While children living in absolute poverty cannot afford basic education, those in relative poverty are forced to dropout half way into their elementary or middle schooling due to their inability to pay fees for further education or as a result of having to shoulder family responsibilities.
The relationship between poverty and education also works the other way round, with lack of education being one of the most important causes of poverty in the world. It's obvious that the average income for a high school dropout will be less compared to the same for a graduate.
Poverty leads to social differences, causing poor children to withdraw from the learning environment and indulge in anti-social behavior, thus making poverty one of the most serious social issues we are facing today.
The rate of poverty in the United States has remained put at 15 percent for the last three years―even recording a slight drop in 2013. While that may be good, it's far from ideal. The need of this hour is to concentrate on identifying the solutions for poverty-related problems and implementing them to reverse the same.