The United Nations defines poverty as:
"a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to, not having the land on which to grow one's food or a job to earn one's living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living in marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation."
Syllabus: Distinguish between absolute poverty and relative poverty.
Poverty can be expressed as either absolute or relative poverty.
- Absolute poverty is generally regarded as the lack of sufficient resources with which to keep body and soul together. Those in absolute poverty struggle just to meet their basic needs. Absolute poverty usually refers to a set standard, which is consistent over time and between countries. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US $1.25 per day, and moderate poverty as less than $2.
- Relative poverty refers to income or resources in relation to the average within a country. It is concerned with the absence of the material needs to participate fully in accepted daily life. Relative poverty is sometimes defined as where income is half the national average, or less.