What causes poverty?

It’s a question that has been asked for generations—what causes poverty and what can be done about it? The definition of extreme poverty is earning less than $1.90 per day. Globally, around 736 million people are in this group, many of them children.1 So, what can we do? It’s already being done and it is extremely successful. We can’t let down our efforts!

It’s important to identify the main causes of poverty and then work hard to build bridges of hope.

What causes poverty?
Here are four main causes:

When people lack necessities like clean water, safe shelter, food and medical care, they are likely to be in poverty. Lacking one or more of these four raises the risk of falling below the poverty line. When almost 3 billion people have no access to toilets and almost 1 billion lack clean drinking water, they are fighting the odds. When 2.7 million newborns die within their first month of life, we know that medical care is not readily accessible to mothers.2

Second, a lack of education often causes poverty. Estimates show that 1.6 billion children can not attend primary school during the COVID-19 pandemic.3 When people are provided educational opportunities, they can learn skills that impact their potential to earn income and provide for their families.

Third, there is often a lack of jobs or income-generating skills. When people learn farming or another trade, an entire community is impacted.

Fourth, poverty is sometimes caused by failure to recover from a natural disaster or crisis. Those already living in poverty are impacted the hardest.

It’s important to understand the causes of poverty so we can know how to help in the best possible way! At GFA World, we’re committed to helping in the above four areas through our child sponsorship program, water-well initiatives, educational programs, income-generation training, and disaster-recovery programs.

1 Global Poverty 101. The Borgen Project. https://borgenproject.org/global-poverty
2 Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle. The World Bank. http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/poverty-and-shared-prosperity
3 Keeping the world’s children learning through COVID-19. UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/keeping-worlds-children-learning-through-covid-19