Is a situation in which people’s standard of living is low. It may be measured in either absolute or relative terms. Absolute poverty means that a person’s basic human needs for food, clothing and shelter are not being met and a poor standard of health may also result. This applies to people suffering from malnutrition or without homes. Relative poverty depends on the standards being applied and implies that within a particular society a given standard of living is unacceptably low. So people may be described as living in relative poverty if they are unable to participate in activities which are considered normal in that society, even though they have enough to eat and somewhere to live. Thus poverty may mean having basic needs satisfied but being unable to go to a football match or spend a short time at the pub or pay for children’s books or outings.

There is some evidence that poverty is on the increase because income distribution has widened in the past 15 years, worldwide, under the impact of market forces.


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