Global ChallengesPoverty & Inequality

What is poverty?


The most basic things that every person needs to survive are usually said to be food, shelter, and clothing.

Poverty describes the condition of a person or family living without one or more of these basic needs.

People who experience poverty don't have enough money to buy toys and ice cream. They often don't even have enough money to buy the food they need for dinner, a warm coat for winter, or the medicine they need when they get sick.

Not everyone who is poor is in that situation for the same reason. Some people live in poverty because they were born in countries where there isn't enough work for everyone to earn money, or there isn't enough food for everyone to eat. Some people have been too sick to keep a job, or haven't had the chance to go to school and learn what they need to know. Some people might experience poverty for longer, while others are able to help themselves improve their situation.

In many countries, people who live in poverty can get help from their government. Soup kitchens, clothing collections, and homeless shelters can also help people. Poverty is sad to think about, but keep in mind that you can help those in need by volunteering or giving to charity. It's important to remember that all people deserve respect, dignity, and the chance for a better life.

(by Mya Kagan)


Have you ever given to charity or worked as a volunteer? Doing good deeds is a great way to help other people and give back to your community! Even something that might seem small, like donating canned food to a soup kitchen, can make a big difference for someone else!

Further Information

Poverty is not strictly limited to a person who is without food, clothing, and shelter. There are other basic qualities of having a good life that can also be included when talking about poverty, such as access to doctors and medicine to maintain good health, and being able to attend school or work.