# WHAT IS ABSOLUTE POVERTY? WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ABSOLUTE POVERTY

Absolute poverty is a state whereby a person lacks the financial means to meet the most basic needs like food, healthcare, safe drinking water etc.

The United Nations defined absolute poverty as "a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information".

Absolute poverty connotes a situation whereby an individual cannot meet his or basic needs.

It means an individual does not have the minimum resources to satisfy his fundamental wants like food and shelter.

It is generally believed that people living below the world bank's benchmark of $\$1.90\$ daily are living in absolute poverty.

Absolute poverty is also known as abject poverty or extreme poverty.

As at the time of writing this post, cases of absolute poverty are found in this five coubtries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh

## Causes of Absolute poverty

There are five major causes of absolute poverty, namely; inadequate access to necessities, war, poor infrastructure, unemployment and illiteracy.

1. Limited access to necessities: This is the most common cause of absolute poverty.

Most often, a lack of access to basic essentials like food and clean water causes absolute poverty.

People frequently struggle with access to clean water in country with high levels of absolute poverty.

To find clean water, people may have to travel thousands of miles.

Even food is not guaranteed. People eat now without knowing where they will eat tomorrow.

Medical care is also essentially nonexistent. All of this greatly contribute to increase in absolute poverty.

2. War: This is another major cause of absolute poverty.

War limits access to basic necessities, damages money, infrastructure, and industry, and halts all types of trade.

People's access to money is hampered and their livelihoods are destroyed by war, which can lead to extreme poverty.

3. Poor infrastructure: A person's capacity to make enough money to cover his essential needs is always influenced by the infrastructure facilities that are available to him.

For instance, fewer items can be produced by a farmer using primitive farming equipment than by a farmer utilizing mechanized equipment

If there are adequate basic infrastructure facilities like electricity, storage houses, and good roads, people will be encouraged to manufacture more things and increase their income.

On the other hand, if the essential infrastructure is not present, a person might not be able to make enough money to cover his fundamental necessities.

4. Unemployment: An increase in absolute poverty is almost always correlated with a high unemployment rate.

People who are unemployed lack the resources to support themselves, which makes it harder for them to meet their basic necessities.

If a person finds a job after a brief period of unemployment, he may overcome abject poverty.

However, if a person stays unemployed for a prolonged period, he may end up in absolute poverty

Therefore, a short period of unemployment does not necessarily result in absolute poverty. Instead, a prolonged period of unemployment causes absolute poverty.

5. Illiteracy: Northrop Frye said, "Wherever illiteracy is a problem, it's as fundamental a problem as getting enough to eat or a place to sleep," and he is right.

Illiteracy is oversimplifying and defined as the inability to read and write.

An individual may not be able to gain meaningful employment if he is illiterate.

A vicious cycle is also created by illiteracy since it makes absolute poverty worse, which in turn makes poverty worse.

This goes on until someone can break the vicious cycle.