Today the world faces the problem of a pandemic that is wreaking havoc across the continents with people succumbing to it. It attacks everyone irrespective of their gender, race, or age, and everyone is scared. Yet you will be surprised to know that it is not what might kill the highest number of people by the end of the year. Millions of people around the world live under the poverty line, not able to afford even one meal a day. Exposure to some of the worst human conditions forces them to live in extreme conditions in which life is sometimes unimaginable and unpredictable. We usually have several desires about getting the latest phone model, or a car, or even a house. On their side of the world, the biggest wishes they could have is getting the next meal or proper clothes.
People face poverty because they are unable to make a living to support themselves and their families. Several factors, such as lack of education, skill, and opportunities, contribute to these extreme conditions. The United Nations defines poverty as a violation of human dignity and the inability to participate effectively in society, and rightly so. People who do not have the surety about their next meal cannot even imagine participating in the community. Due to a lack of necessary facilities, poor people do not have access to quality healthcare, so they are more affected by diseases than others.
Consequently, they have a very high fatality rate due to curable diseases as they lack access to the most common medicines. Many organizations, either government or non-governmental, work for the alleviation and eradication of poverty. In this article, we tend to discuss several reasons why we must eradicate poverty.
1. POVERTY AFFECTS MORE PEOPLE THAN WE THINK
You might see a homeless person in your area, but you would be surprised at how many more people out there cannot afford basic living. As cities become congested with the new neighborhood, the destitute who previously occupied these areas have to move out to suburbs. Hence, most of the organizations now focus on eradicating suburban poverty because they get hidden from the public eye. According to a report in America alone, 38 million people were living below the poverty line in the year 2018. That is almost 12% of the total population of the United States. It gives a clear idea of the situation of how many people need our help.
2. POVERTY INCREASES HEALTH RISKS
Due to the deprivation of quality health facilities, poor people are more at risk of health problems. Children born in poor households have lower birth weight and face stunted growth as they grow up. This stunted growth is the direct consequence of food insecurity because they cannot afford to provide the children with nutritional food. Poverty-stricken people also have a higher rate of other health complications, such as hypertension, chronic heart diseases, and elevated cholesterol. And the lack of care exacerbates the issue even further, and they get stuck in a very vicious cycle.
3. POVERTY AFFECTS FAMILIES
Since they have a meager income, they face severe difficulties paying bills and making ends meet. This economic pressure results in chronic psychological issues such as anxiety and depression, especially among parents. Mental health issues make couples more hostile with each other making them more at risk of falling apart. Also, this leads to an increased number of divorces and weakening their relationship with their children. The relationship between parents and children usually thrives when parents fulfill their wishes, which is not possible due to poverty.
4. POVERTY COSTS THE ECONOMY
Higher rates of poverty not only affect the people but also limits the government from spending elsewhere. The US government directs a significant portion of its budget to eradicate poverty, which they could have invested in something that gives them return. The result is reduced productivity, increased cost of healthcare benefits, and more expenditures for enabling the interests of the poor.
5. POVERTY WEAKENS THE MIDDLE CLASS
In any country, the middle class is the driving force that moves the country forward through sheer hard work and determination. When people from the middle class keep slipping down to poverty, this increases the pressure on the existing to do better. Long spells of poverty reduce human development, and the country must spend an increased amount on such people. Poor people have other things to worry about, so their contribution to the economy becomes minimal, while many do not even join the workforce. Financial inclusion helps alleviate this process as it aids in growth, economic development, and financial deepening, a study shows. In simple words, it means that people who have more access to formal financial services can sustain themselves to remain in the middle class.
6. POVERTY AMONG CHILDREN HARM SOCIETY
Children who live below poverty are at risk of stunted growth, resulting in low cognitive development and unfit for society. They are more dependent on the state benefits and lack the necessary education, which usually leads them to the world of crime. They also have lower-earning and are not able to make ends meet when they grow up. The World Bank now funds countries to help educate kids from poorer backgrounds, so they can also compete in society.
7. POVERTY DECREASES SOCIAL MOBILITY
Poverty is like a swamp where you once get stuck; it will be challenging to leave. Children born in low-income families usually grow up to be weak and cannot free themselves from the clutches of poverty. Only a small percentage of children who were born in a low-income family could become rich. The numbers are quite different for the middle class, who find it easier to climb the social ladder.
8. POVERTY WEAKENS DEMOCRACY
Countries with democracy believe in the high values of liberty, free speech, equality, and the right to elect their representatives. The disparity of incomes leads to unequal voices as millions of people are not able to raise their voices or exercise their rights as equal citizens. People with higher incomes can easily ensure that the government knows their value, which is not the case with the destitute. It has a direct impact on the kind of policies policymakers make since they have more cognizance of the needs of the wealthy. Such systems do not reflect the ideals of real democracy and exacerbate the inequality in society even further.
Poverty is a menace, and even in a developed world of today, we face it on a considerable level. Countries with a lower per capita income face such problems much more than those in first-world countries. As the wars and famine around the world push more people to become refugees, the issue of increasing poverty should raise alarm bells. Poverty brings many sad realities, and humans would do better if they developed the necessary empathy to deal with this degradation of human dignity.
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