Blog

  • How Does Poverty Affect People?

    Surviving on less than $1.90 per day seems impossible but it’s a reality for 9.2% of the global population or approximately 689 million individuals. These people struggle to meet basic daily needs like food, shelter, health, education, and access to clean water and sanitation.

    Around the world, 46% of people living in extreme poverty are children under 14 years of age. In the United States, 11.4% of the population or 37.2 million people struggle with poverty as of 2020, around 3.3 million people more than in 2019.

    While the COVID-19 pandemic is widely viewed as a temporary setback to economic growth, it caused profound effects on poverty.

    Latest research from the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research predicts that the economic impact of the COVID-19 could cause global poverty to soar by as much as half a billion people.

    By 2030, an estimated two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor will be residing in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS). People living in FCS are more likely to suffer from education, healthcare, monetary and infrastructure deprivations than those in non-CFS regions.

    What Does Poverty Mean?

    The United Nations defines poverty as a violation of human dignity and denial of opportunities and choices. It also refers to a lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society.

    Poverty has different faces. It’s hunger, lack of shelter, being sick and not having the means to visit the doctor. It’s also unemployment, illiteracy, and living from paycheck to paycheck.

    Historically, poverty goes beyond the lack of income and resources to live healthy and productive lives. It’s also seen in malnutrition, social discrimination, exclusion in decision-making, and lack of access to education and other basic services.

    The Impact of Poverty On Society

    Hunger

    Poverty and hunger are closely intertwined. Hunger and undernutrition can have adverse effects on child development. Women with undernutrition before and during pregnancy may have a greater risk of negative birth outcomes, including low birth weight, premature birth, lower brain weight, and smaller head size.

    Likewise, babies born prematurely are more likely to develop learning problems when they reach school-age.

    Young people who experience severe hunger are at higher risk for the following negative outcomes:

    • Stressful life conditions
    • Mental health problems including anxiety, poor self-esteem, depression, and withdrawal
    • Chronic health conditions
    • Behavioural problems

     

    Homelessness

    People living in extreme poverty are frequently unable to pay for safe, comfortable, and permanent housing.

    Homelessness is stressful and traumatic for children because they often experience family split-ups, frequent relocations, and living in crowded and shared places without any sense of privacy. All of these experiences can lead to poor health and missed educational opportunities.

    With no permanent housing, children growing up in poverty are more likely to miss classes or repeat a grade. Homelessness also threatens their social and cognitive development and reduces their ability to succeed academically.

    Poor Health

    Marginalized and vulnerable groups are constantly exposed to greater personal and environmental health risks. They are often deprived of information and access to health services which increases their risk of illness and disability.

    For people living in poverty and low-income households, the cost of medications, doctors’ fees, and transport to reach a hospital are simply beyond reach. As a result, they often experience shorter life expectancy, higher death rates, and higher infant mortality rates.

    Poor and overcrowded living conditions can also threaten people’s health and trigger the spread of airborne diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Lack of nutritious food, clean water and sanitation can also cause fatal diseases.

    Ending Poverty: How You Can Make a Change

    There are many things you can do to end poverty right now. You can donate, volunteer, and sign petitions that aim to help those in need. People, charities, and organizations need all your support, talents, and determination to help the less fortunate members of society.

    As a philanthropist, I am deeply passionate about less fortunate members of the community. I am a volunteer at The LA Food Bank, a nonprofit group that strives to combat poverty in Los Angeles. I also fundraise for and sponsor low-income families and children.

    People, charities, and organizations need all your support, talents, and determination to help victims of poverty. In my countless years of volunteering, I’ve learned that while money helps, your time can be just as important in helping people break the cycle of poverty and live better lives.

    To learn more about my experience volunteering, please visit the homepage.