ETYM Old Eng. poverte, Old Fren. poverté, French pauvreté, from Latin paupertas, from pauper poor. Related to Poor.
The state of having little or no money and few or no material possessions; SYN. poorness, impoverishment.
Condition where the basic needs of human beings (shelter, food, and clothing) are not being met. Over one-fifth of the world’s population was living in extreme poverty 1995, of which around 70% were women. Nearly 12 million children die each year from poverty-related illness. There are different definitions of the standard of living considered to be the minimum adequate level (known as the poverty level). The European Union (eu) definition of poverty is an income of less than half the eu average (Ł150 a week in 1993). By this definition, there were 50 million poor in the eu 1993.
Absolute and relative poverty.
Absolute poverty, where people lack the necessary food, clothing, or shelter to survive, can be distinguished from relative poverty, which has been defined as the inability of a citizen to participate fully in economic terms in the society in which he or she lives. In many countries, absolute poverty is common and persistent, being reflected in poor nutrition, short life expectancy, and high levels of infant mortality. It may result from a country's complete lack of resources, or from inequitable distribution of wealth.
Inequality on the increase.
During the 1980s, the world's poorest 20% of people saw their share of global income reduced from 1.7% to 1.4%. In 1994, at least 1.1 billion people were subsisting on a cash income of less than $1 a day. Their total assets came to no more than $400 billion, compared with the $200 billion assets of the world's 160 billionaires.
World Summit 1995.
A plan for eradicating global poverty, creating full employment, and countering social injustice was approved at a United Nations World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark, March 1995. It urged industrialized nations to reduce the debt burdens of developing countries and to allocate 20% of foreign aid to basic social needs.