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Poverty as a Social Problem

Poverty is a social issue facing people in every country across the world. Poverty refers to a relative concept that is used to describe individuals in a society who lack the essentials taken for granted by most people. In Australia, people living in relative poverty are those whose living standards fall below an overall community standard. In most cases, people living below the poverty line in Australia have low-income levels; they lack the opportunities as well as resources such as education, housing, health care, employment opportunities, recreation, and food. Individual circumstances and major inequalities built-in society are the main causes of poverty. Poverty as well as other social miseries are mostly caused by social structures. Societal issues such as segregation, racism, cause disparities in employment, education as well as income for marginalized people.

Gender inequality is the most pervasive and oldest form of inequality in the globe. Women are denied their voices and make women unequal to men, from the household, national and international levels. Though there has been some progress towards changing this narrative in the modern world, women have not achieved economic equality hence women being more likely to live in poverty compared to men. Moreover, poverty is considered higher among black and minority ethnic groups compared to the white population. People from some ethnic groups get less pay than individuals from other groups with the same experience and qualifications.

In addition, poverty stereotypes have negative effects on people’s performance across the world. Economic scarcity is one of the vital factors of poverty that makes poor people more vulnerable to poverty experience and life pressure. Also, low-income earners are more likely to experience poverty and stress.

Even though it is possible to moderate poverty by use of social transfers, it is not possible to mitigate the processes, which cause poverty under capitalism. The main effect of capitalism causes competition between states and spreads poverty among developing countries because of the individual interests of private firms rather than their workers’ needs. Also, globalization reduces income inequality hence leading to poverty reduction. When states open up to trade, they grow faster and the living standards of their people tend to increase.

Poverty leads to social changes as poor individuals are more likely to experience different issues such as a divorce as well as family conflicts. Moreover, poor people are more prone to health problems. Children from poor families are less likely to get a quality education or go to college level, hence being more likely to engage in criminal activities. Moreover, issues such as poor sanitation, illness as well as hunger are the causes and also effects of poverty. Poor people are less likely to have adequate food and clean water.

In conclusion, sociology can provide a significant tool for thinking about poverty as a social issue that affects many people across the globe. Thinking sociologically can help people to better understand poverty and disentangle it from a range of associated concepts and pejorative discussions regarding a variety of social issues.


Germov, J & Poole, M (eds) 2019, Public Sociology: An introduction to Australian society, 4th edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest.


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