The causes and characteristics of poverty: local, national and global

Many people suffer with the consequences of extreme poverty, particularly in the developing world. Many Christians believe that people should use their wealth to help those who have less.

What does 'poverty' mean?

Key facts about world povertyKey facts about world povertyUN, 2012

Poverty can be defined in different ways, mostly depending on where you live in the world.

Relative poverty relates to what a particular society considers to be poor. For example, someone in the UK might be considered to be relatively poor if they live on less than the average UK income.

Absolute poverty is when someone does not have access to basic human needs such as water, clothing, education and shelter.

Three indicators of absolute poverty.

Absolute poverty

Three indicators of absolute poverty

Where you live makes a difference

Most poverty is found in less economically developed countries (LEDCs). These countries are non-industrialised, eg Afghanistan and Sudan. People living in these countries are more likely to have high rates of child mortality, poor life expectancy, inadequate housing and poor educational standards.

Contrast this with those who live in more economically developed countries (MEDCs). Examples of MEDCs include the UK, USA and Canada. People living in MEDCs often have a much better chance of living in relative wealth. These countries have a more developed economy and have a greater income due to their technological and industrial abilities.