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Causes of poverty

  • Unemployment or having a poor quality (i.e. low paid or precarious) job as this limits access to a decent income and cuts people off from social networks;
  • Low levels of education and skills because this limits people’s ability to access decent jobs to develop themselves and participate fully in society;
  • The size and type of family i.e. large families and lone parent families tend to be at greater risk of poverty because they have higher costs, lower incomes and more difficulty in gaining well paid employment;
  • Gender - women are generally at higher risk of poverty than men as they are less likely to be in paid employment, tend to have lower pensions, are more involved in unpaid caring responsibilities and when they are in work, are frequently paid less ;
  • Disability or ill-health because this limits ability to access employment and also leads to increased day to day costs;
  • Being a member of minority ethnic groups and immigrants/undocumented migrants as they suffer particularly from discrimination and racism and thus have less chance to access employment, often are forced to live in worse physical environments and have poorer access to essential services;
  • Living in a remote or very disadvantaged community where access to services is worse.

Consequences of Poverty

Poverty has far reaching consequences on the society. People suffering from poverty will generally have a low standard of living. They are not able to afford education and lack access to health care and education. This will lead to a low quality of human capital and thus compromise economic growth.

Poverty takes a toll on poor children’s development. For example, poverty causes malnutrition which would affect the development of a child’s mental thinking and healthy body. 

Poverty may also lead to political instability and lead to increased risk of war, mass emigration of population and terrorism.



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