As said by Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Indian nonviolence leader.
World poverty is a problem in every country. No one location deals with it the same as the other. There are a few countries who do very well to contain it, and the majority of others who do nothing at all.
To start, there are many forms of poverty. But when all is analyzed, it comes down to whether or not people's basic needs are met. Basic needs are defined as having necessary food, clothing, and shelter. The World Bank is the foremost leader on this issue, being created in 1944 among 44 countries.The United States' leader on poverty data is the US Census Bureau. Europe's poverty data is collected by each individual country, but shares that information with the central EU government.
There is other definitions of poverty too, some of which suggest an imbalance among citizen's wealth. Either way, the idea of poverty is largely a comparative one, which also implies a layer of subjectivity.
I am planning to launch a series of posts designed to look deeper into this very topic. Today is only the introduction.
As I suggested earlier, poverty is one of the most difficult of topics to define, because it is so subjective and so hard to reason. Currently the US uses a model containing a weekly food budget multiplied times three. In 2006, the "poverty line" was equal to $20,000 for a family of four. That amount is supposed to show that a family of four who makes one cent less than that is economically challenged enough to receive government subsidies, but a family who makes one cent more is not. It means that twenty thousand dollars will provide a minimal quality of life for that family.
For those who do not live in the US, there are two standards of poverty guidelines. The first is extreme poverty. Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank for those who live on less than US$1 per day. According to the map found here
, these would be countries like Mali, Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia, and Burundi. Moderate poverty, is considered to be living on less than $2, this hits a larger number of countries.
POVERTY IN THE US
I will eventually write a whole post about this, but for now, I just want to give you a taste and say that if you want to know about US poverty, there is two books which are very good. Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickle and Dimed" is a good start, but it does focus more on the working poor. Another good one is David K Shipler's "The Working Poor". Working poor in America are people who are working a job which pays minimum wage or even below, cannot keep up with their economic situations and make ends meet.
Here in the United States, I don't think many people can relate to the poverty level when hearing it on the news or in other media. For comparison's sake, here are some figures:
Liberia - 80% people live under state-defined poverty level
Ghana - 39%
Ukraine - 29%
Indonesia - 27.1%
India - 28.6%
Israel - 21%
Russia - 17.8%
Brazil - 17.4%
United Kingdom - 17%
Iran - 16%
UNITED STATES - 12%
Mexico - 10.1%
France - 6.5%
China - 4.1%
Belgium - 4%
Now, two things I would like to point out from this analysis. First, from my source
, there were several countries which are important to me which were absent from the list. They are the countries of Scandinavia. Knowing what I do about these Northern European countries is that their poverty rate is pretty well close to 0%. It is not absolutely zero because there is always those unreported people who are living in poverty. But, also, these countries have excellent services for those who are without so they can have at least a minimal quality of life without being "in poverty".
Also, my other note is that this is rather skewed because the basis for these figures is each countries' own poverty guidelines. What the government says poverty is and where the market says poverty is are two very different places.
I think I will quit now because I am giving a little more than a preview for my following posts. These will happen on Mondays and I will do my best to keep the most current information available.
Labels: Brazil, economics, Europe, gandhi, poverty, United Nations, US