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Income and Poverty

A person is considered to be in poverty if they have little or no money, goods, or other means of support to maintain themselves. Poverty is also defined as the status of someone who does not have enough money or material possessions to be deemed socially acceptable.

In his novel Utopia, Sir Thomas More proposed a basic income, published in 1516. It’s a straightforward concept: ensure that everyone has enough money to survive (Davis 2017). The New Jersey Income Maintenance Experiment, which took place between 1968 and 1972 and was the first of its type to test the concept of a guaranteed minimum income, was launched in 1968 and operated until 1972. When basic income is provided to small groups of individuals, the research demonstrates that it can assist in reducing poverty while avoiding many of the negative consequences that were predicted (as opposed to a whole economy).

Mollie Orshansky developed the modern-day definition of Poverty (Orshanky 2020). From 1953 until 1958, she worked as a food economist, where she organized and coordinated the collection and analysis of household food consumption and spending data. Mollie’s poverty estimates for 1963–1964 were based on information she had acquired while working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). She relied on the USDA’s “economy food plan,” which was the least expensive of four food plans designed to provide a nutritionally balanced diet at a reasonable price.

Census bureau

11.4 per cent was the official poverty rate in 2020 compared to 10.5 per cent in 2019, an increase of 1%. In 2020, 37.2 million people lived in Poverty (Shrider et al., 2021). Definition of absolute Poverty: When the household’s income falls below a specific threshold, making it impossible for the individual and their family to meet their fundamental necessities of education, shelter, clean drinking water, health care and food.

Causes of Poverty

Poverty is caused by various factors, including a lack of adequate housing, limited access to clean water resources, food instability, physical restrictions, unemployed workers, a lack of access to healthcare services, gender discrimination, and a lack of adequate infrastructure.

Amartya Sen (1983) underlines that poverty is a matter of relative poverty and a matter of absolute Poverty (Yamamori, 2019). A lack of capacities, according to him, was a situation that encompassed all other conditions. He defined poverty as the inability to meet a minimum set of capabilities, a state of being unable to satisfy even the most basic of one’s fundamental necessities.

How to measure poverty

Depending on the conditions, poverty can be either absolute or relative. Important to note that absolute poverty has stayed the same as a criterion across history and countries. Absolute metrics include the percentage of persons who eat less food than their bodies require to operate correctly (calorie deficit). On the other hand, Comparative Poverty is concerned with the social context in which poverty is defined. As a comparative measure, the entire wealth of the lowest one-third of the population may be compared to the total wealth of the wealthiest one per cent of the people, which would yield the following results: A rise in income may increase the number of people who are deemed to be poor, as previously stated.

Americans who suffer from a lack of education and skill development, poor health, inadequate housing, low levels of desire, and a high level of psychological distress, according to Harrington’s book The Other America: Poverty in the United States, is poor. He said that a broad program of “remedial action”—a “comprehensive assault on poverty”—must be implemented to lift all America required in its place.

Solution to Poverty

Poverty can be alleviated by the employment of the following strategies: It is now appropriate to use social media as a platform for social good, given that it has become a basic part of our daily lives and is becoming more so. To assist others, we can do a variety of small activities on our own, such as sponsoring a needy family and urging others to do the same; when you give, you are not required to offer money. A philanthropic deed could be as simple as a donation of books to a child in need or as complex as delivering a week’s worth of food to a starving family. Gender inequalities must be eliminated at any cost. Because women account for two-thirds of the world’s illiterate, the gender ratio in elementary, secondary, and university education should be the same in the workplace. Make the world a better place to live by taking action. A country’s poverty level can be reduced if more work possibilities are available in that country. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is directly related to health and education, making it vital to enhance these resources. Educational opportunities should be provided to all family members because education increases the economic power of each individual.

Is poverty possible to eradicate

Poverty is impossible to eradicate when defined traditionally, but it can be eliminated when described absolutely. If a person’s income determines poor earned, then they are said not to be deficient by either changing the definition or raising their income. According to the vice president of the word bank, it is possible to end extreme poverty. She believes that by 2030, we will have eliminated severe poverty and increased shared prosperity among the world’s poorest 40 per cent. She went on to say that the World Bank Group believes there are three distinct ways to achieve these goals. With the assistance of their friends, they may be able to generate long-term, broadly based economic growth, in part through encouraging private sector investment in transportation and energy infrastructure.


Davis, J. C. (2017). Goodbye to Utopia: Thomas More’s utopian conclusion. In Alternative Worlds Imagined, 1500-1700 (pp. 197-204). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Orshansky, M. (2020). Perspectives on poverty 2: How poverty is measured. In Welfare Law (pp. 57-61). Routledge.

Shrider, E. A., Kollar, M., Chen, F., & Semega, J. (2021). Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020. Current Population Reports. US Census Bureau.

Yamamori, T. (2019). The Smithian ontology of ‘relative poverty: revisiting the debate between Amartya Sen and Peter Townsend. Journal of Economic Methodology26(1), 70-80.


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