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The highest absolute poverty according to the UN for 2004 was in Madagascar – 71.3%, Sierra Leone – 70.2%, Mozambique – 69.4%. If, the poverty is understood as living for $ 1 a day, the highest poverty according to 2005 was in Nigeria (70.8%), CAR (66.6%) and Zambia (63.8%) (Krugman, 2009).
The information that was posted by Newsru on the 19/01/2010 informs that 17% of the EU population is below the poverty line.
According to the static service of the European Union, the level of poverty in 27 EU countries remained almost unchanged since 2005. 17-18% of EU population(about 500 million people) are below the poverty line, and another 10% of the EU residents do not have enough finances to heat the house during the winter.
The biggest number of poor people – 26% of the population is registered in Latvia. The second and third places of poverty were taken by Romania (23%) and Bulgaria (21%). Meanwhile, the smallest number of people living under the poverty threshold is in the Czech Republic (9%), the Netherlands and Slovakia 11%.
Discussing the dynamic of poverty development in the USA, I can say that in the 1960-s the research of the sociologist Michael Harrington’s showed that one of the richest countries of the world (the USA) has 20% of people who loved in poverty. In 1964, the U.S. government established an official poverty line and began to conduct regular studies of the national poverty level. The bases for the classification the American family to the category of the poor are its costs for food, which must be not less than 1 / 3 of all family incomes. Thanks to government social programs, poverty rates in the U.S. by the end of the 20th century decreased. However, even at the beginning of the 21st century it is still more than 10% of the total U.S. population (Senker, pp. 14-16).
The hierarchy of the countries, depending on the poverty level (see the Table) shows that in developing countries, where the poor people often exceed the half of the whole population, the problem is more vivid than in developed countries. If to talk about the post-socialist countries (including Russia), so they take the position of “the best among the worst”: a typical level of poverty is 25-30% higher than in developed countries, but lower than in the most developing countries (Iceland, p. 180).
According to official data on January 1, 2003, the 20.2% of New York City residents had incomes below the federal poverty level, another 13 percent were just above this level. In 2001, one million people daily received their broth in charitable dining rooms; and 350 thousand of people didn’t receive broth, because there was no enough of food. There were 600 thousand low-paid workers, 56% of whom didn’t have the health insurance, while 52 % had no fixed fee. There were 38 thousand of homeless people in New York in 2003 (Sachs, pp. 245-248).
The Percentage of poor population in some countries in 2003-2004
countries The percentage of population below the poverty line (%) year
Guatemala 75% 2004
Angola 70% 2003
Bolivia 64% 2004
Peru 54% 2003
Ethiopia 50% 2004
Bangladesh 45% 2004
Argentina 44% 2004
Kyrgyzstan 40% 2004
Mexico 40% 2003
Mongolia 36% 2004
Ukraine 29% 2003
Albania 25% 2004
Russia 25% 2003
USA 12% 2004
Acording to U.S. Census Bureau, The official poverty rate in 2008 was 13.2 %, up from 12.5 % in 2007. In 2008, 39.8 million people were in poverty, up from 37.3 million in 2007. The poverty rate in 2008 (13.2 percent) was the highest poverty rate since 1997 but was 9.2 percentage points lower than in 1959 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009).
The causes of poverty are different. The poverty is a consequence of diverse and interrelated reasons, which are combined into the following groups:
– Economic (unemployment, low wages, low productivity, lack of competitiveness of the industry),
– Socio-medical (disability, old age, high levels of morbidity),
– Demographic (parent families, a large number of dependents in the family),
– Socio-economic (low level of social guarantees),
– Educational qualifications (a low level of education, lack of training),
– Political (military conflict, forced migration),
– Regional-geographic (uneven development of regions) (Mason, pp. 69-74).
Everyone understands that poverty has many negative consequences.
Poverty is a factor of social tension. Struggling with the unjust, as they think, distribution of income, the poor people tend to commit crimes and violent methods of political struggle. History shows that during the revolutions and other political turmoil, the poor were a “combustible” material of social upheavals.
Even if the poor do not commit acts of violence against other people, a society in which they live, still bears the losses. A poor person can not fully participate in society; his creative potential is not disclosed and wasted in vain. Particularly tragic is the “inherited” poverty, when children of the poor with the same capabilities are much less likely to self-actualization, than their peers who were born in families with normal incomes.
Those poor people who live in “the third world” countries, suffer from poor sanitation, the epidemic diseases are spread in their midst. Recognizing that many aspects of poverty are harmful to society, some at the same time emphasize its positive effects.
According to their viewpoint, if it was not poverty, there wouldn’t be a spur for people to improve productivity. Poverty, therefore, encourages people to participate actively in the competition for social benefits.
Among government measures to reduce poverty are: creating the conditions for the growth of production and increasing the incomes of the population; maintaining the macroeconomic stability; an anti-inflationary policy; establishing a minimum wage; development of social programs and mechanisms for their implementation (Vásquez, 2001).
So, the poverty is the most widespread violation of human rights in the world and is one of the most actual social problems of modern society. The problem of poverty can be solved by the governments of the countries. Hopefully the rate of poverty will become lower in the nearest future.
Dixon, John, David Macarov. Poverty: a persistent global reality. 1998.
Grusky, David, S. M. Ravi Kanbur, Amartya Kumar Sen. Poverty and inequality. 2006.
Iceland, John. Poverty in America: a handbook. 2006.
Krugman, Paul, Robin Wells. Macroeconomics. 2. New York City: Worth Publishers, 2009. Print.
Mason, Paul. Poverty. 2006.
Sachs, Jeffrey. The end of poverty: economic possibilities for our time. 2006.
Senker, Cath. Poverty. 2007.
U.S. Census Bureau. “Poverty: 2008 Highlights”. The Current Population Survey (CPS), 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). 2009. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty08/pov08hi.html
Vásquez, Ian. Ending Mass Poverty. Cato Institure. September 2001.