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Is There A Difference Between Poverty And Living Poor?

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Poverty is one of those issues that many people talk about and wonder about. But poverty and living poor are not the same things.

Poverty is about a person lacking enough resources or money to provide for their necessities of life, including food, clean water, shelter, and clothing. A person can have all of these necessities but maybe not have other things, such as electricity. That is why there is a difference between someone in poverty and someone who may be living poor.

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Poverty Definition

The definition of poverty is not as simple as you may think. The world vision of Canada has defined poverty as

“Essentially, poverty refers to lacking enough resources to provide for the necessities of life – food, clean water, shelter and clothing.”

World Visision Canada

Poverty is best defined as someone who cannot provide for life’s necessities as food, clean water, shelter, and clothing. That is why homelessness is an indication of poverty.

To learn more about homelessness in America, you can read our blog Why Is A Study Of Poverty Important? by clicking here.

Living Poor Is Not The Same As Poverty

Living poor is not the same thing as living in poverty. A person could live in a Third World country, which means they live poor but may not fit the definition of poverty.

In other words, even though they live in an emerging country, they may have housing, clean water, food, and clothing. Yes, they may not live in the most luxurious house; it may not have electricity or an air conditioner. Their water may need to boil to ensure it is clean. They may grow the food by themselves and produce their clothing.

Technically, if they can fulfill all these requirements, they may not live in poverty but in poor conditions.

That is because not all poor people live in poverty, and not all people do not have income.

Living Poor Vs. Poverty Compared

I have spent time in the mountain areas in Vietnam with some ethnic minorities. Many of these ethnic minorities might be considered poor but not impoverished. Most of them have handmade wooden or bamboo houses; they may need to boil water, grow food, and make clothes.

Most people would consider these Hill tribespeople as being poor or living poor, but technically speaking, they are not living in poverty; they can still take care of their basic human necessities.

On the other hand, there could be a homeless person living in San Francisco, working two jobs and earning what would be considered a good income in most parts of the world. But as the city of San Francisco is so expensive, they cannot afford a place to live. As they cannot afford housing, they are considered to be living in poverty.

The same person living in San Francisco also has a mobile phone and an iPad or laptop, which the Hill tribe person may not have.

I realize a lot of this may not make sense as to why the hill tribe person is not considered living in poverty, whereas the homeless person in San Francisco is. But then again, it goes back to providing the necessities of life: food, clean water, shelter, and clothing.

Being a Global Citizen – Why You Should Care About Poverty

At A Bus On a Dusty Road, we believe we should all live life as global citizens. It does not matter if you live in the United States, England, Canada, Africa, Asia, or Polynesia. What matters is that we should all look at ways to live life as global citizens.

As part of living life as global citizens, we need to understand some of these global issues, including the problems of poverty and living poor.

One of the things that struck me about the definition of poverty is that there is nothing that says a person is in poverty if they cannot afford a phone, iPad, or laptop. So often, we think that poverty means being unable to afford these things.

But poverty has nothing to do with a person’s ability to communicate with the rest of the world or have technical devices. Yes, being on the Internet or having access to it can help someone get out of living poor, but it is not one of the criteria for poverty.

In many parts of the world, people may not have access to electricity, yet they have food, shelter, water, and clothing. So electricity or the ability to have electricity is also not one of the worldwide criteria for poverty.

Listen To Our Podcast About Journey Through Scarcity: Understanding Poverty Vs. Living Poor below or by clicking here.

At A Bus On A Dusty Road, we talk about travel, life, and ex-pat living. We are all about “Living Life As A Global Citizen.” We explore social, cultural, and economic issues and travel.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is poverty?

Poverty is a state in which a person lacks sufficient resources or money to meet their basic needs, including food, clean water, shelter, and clothing.

How is poverty measured?

Poverty is often measured using income or consumption-based indicators. The most common measure is the poverty line, which sets a threshold below which individuals or families are considered to be living in poverty.

What are the main causes of poverty?

Poverty has multiple causes, including lack of education, unemployment, underemployment, economic inequality, discrimination, limited access to resources and opportunities, and systemic factors such as political instability and corruption.

Are poverty and living poor the same thing?

No, poverty and living poor are not the same. Poverty refers to the lack of resources to meet basic needs, while living poor can describe a situation where someone may have their necessities but lack certain amenities like electricity or other non-essential items.

Is poverty a global issue?

Yes, poverty is a global issue that affects people in both developed and developing countries. However, the severity and manifestations of poverty can vary across different regions and socio-economic contexts.

Can poverty be eradicated?

While complete eradication of poverty may be challenging, significant progress can be made through a combination of effective social policies, economic development, improved access to education and healthcare, and efforts to address systemic issues that perpetuate poverty.

How does poverty impact individuals and communities?

Poverty can have far-reaching effects on individuals and communities. It limits opportunities for education and employment, increases the risk of poor health outcomes, perpetuates social inequality, and hampers overall economic development.

What are some initiatives to alleviate poverty?

Various initiatives are implemented to alleviate poverty, including social welfare programs, microfinance initiatives, job training programs, access to affordable healthcare and education, and efforts to promote inclusive economic growth and reduce inequality.

The Four Contributory Factors To Poverty Both Locally And Globally

Poverty is an issue that affects the entire world. Even those countries that are considered to be wealthy still have to deal with issues of poverty.

There are four main contributory factors for poverty locally and globally: literacy and education, health and medical care, work or job opportunities, and the overpopulation of a city or country. All of these four areas help to contribute to poverty both locally and globally.

You can read The Four Contributory Factors To Poverty Both Locally And Globally by clicking here.

6 Lessons On Community Support from The Mongolian Nomadic Herders

The Mongolian nomadic herders in the Gobi Desert taught me six important lessons about our community support importance. I learned some important lessons about working together as a group and supporting our neighbors while also building a support team that will always be there for us – especially in our time of need. For this to happen, we must each be willing to serve in our communities and work together.

To discover more, read 6 Lessons On Community Support from The Mongolian Nomadic Herders by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel
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One response to “Is There A Difference Between Poverty And Living Poor?”

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