Why Does Poverty Exist?

Poverty stems from many factors, including lack of jobs for workers, health conditions, inadequate access to schools and training facilities and government corruption. Poverty affects millions of people worldwide, including families and individuals in the United States. It exists in wealthy and poor countries alike, and affects citizens directly or indirectly.

Some poverty stems from short-term issues, like natural disasters. However, intractable issues like exploitation of populations through government policies and big business typically generates poverty. Economists use inequality to measure the amount of poverty around the world. Inequality refers to the lack of access for low income residents to resources such as education, healthcare and financial assistance programs. Lacking access to vital resources leaves poor segments of society fewer opportunities for acquiring knowledge, skills and information necessary to secure jobs and income.

Chronic unemployment plagues impoverished citizens and widens the income gap between the rich and poor. Poor citizens see less government representation and assistance, in turn reducing the chance of positive change.

Perpetual inequality leads to other conditions, such as widespread disease and malnutrition among poor communities. Additionally, experts link higher poverty rates with increases in social misconduct such as crime, drug use and violence. Some governments prevent social mobility and retain wealth in the hands of an elite few, while others lack resources to meet the needs of all citizens.