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Child poverty

Child poverty concerns poverty of people under the age of 18.  



  • Government corruption.
  • Lack of social integration.
  • Crime.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Substance abuse, such as alcoholism and drug abuse.
  • Natural factors such as climate or environment.
  • Overpopulation. Note that population growth slows or even become negative as poverty is reduced due to the demographic transition.
  • Lack of education.
  • Lack of social skills.
  • Cultural causes, which attribute poverty to common patterns of life, learned or shared within a community. For example, some have argued that Protestantism contributed to economic growth during the industrial revolution.
  • Individual beliefs, actions and choices.
  • Mental illness and disability, such as Autism, and Schizophrenia.
  • Geographic factors, for example fertile land and access to natural resources.
  • Disease, specifically Diseases of poverty: AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and others overwhelmingly afflict the poor, which perpetuate poverty by diverting individual, community, and national health and economic resources from investment and productivity. Further, many tropical nations are affected by diseases like Malaria and Schistosomiasis that are not present in temperate climates.
  • Inadequate nutrition in childhood in poor nations may lead to physical and mental stunting.
  • Discrimination of various kinds, such as age discrimination, gender discrimination, racial discrimination.
  • Inadequate income.

Effects of child poverty

Some possible effects of child poverty, some which may also be causations of poverty as mentioned above, thus conforming what's known as a "poverty cycle" and complicating the subject even further:

  • Human trafficking
  • Diseases and disabilities; low health care services
  • High crime rate
  • Increased suicides
  • Increased risk of political violence; such as terrorism, war and genocide
  • Homelessness
  • Lack of opportunities for employment
  • Low literacy
  • Increased susceptibility to death from natural disasters.
  • Increased discrimination
  • Lower life expectancy
  • Drug abuse

Debates about poverty

The underlying causes of poverty and the elimination thereof are a controversial, politicized issue. Advocates of a libertarian view may look to structural factors that prevent economic growth such as poorly protected property rights, lacking credit system, crime, corruption, rent seeking, and harmful regulation which prevent economic efficiency.

Those with more left wing views may see poverty as the result of different systemic factors. For instance, they may consider that poverty is caused by lack of opportunity (particularly in education), and that it is often the lack of government intervention which results in more poverty. They tend to believe that alleviating poverty is a matter of social justice and that it is the responsibility of the wealthy to help those in need.

Most agree that education is part of the solution. If people waited until they could afford to have children, child poverty would be greatly reduced.


  • Atkinson, Anthony B. Poverty in Europe 1998
  • Betson, David M., and Jennifer L. Warlick. "Alternative Historical Trends in Poverty." American Economic Review 88:348-51. 1998. in JSTOR
  • Brady, David "Rethinking the Sociological Measurement of Poverty" Social Forces 81#3 2003, pp. 715-751 Online in Project Muse. Abstract: Reviews shortcomings of the official U.S. measure; examines several theoretical and methodological advances in poverty measurement. Argues that ideal measures of poverty should: (1) measure comparative historical variation effectively; (2) be relative rather than absolute; (3) conceptualize poverty as social exclusion; (4) assess the impact of taxes, transfers, and state benefits; and (5) integrate the depth of poverty and the inequality among the poor. Next, this article evaluates sociological studies published since 1990 for their consideration of these criteria. This article advocates for three alternative poverty indices: the interval measure, the ordinal measure, and the sum of ordinals measure. Finally, using the Luxembourg Income Study, it examines the empirical patterns with these three measures, across advanced capitalist democracies from 1967 to 1997. Estimates of these poverty indices are made available.
  • Buhmann, Brigitte, Lee Rainwater, Guenther Schmaus, and Timothy M. Smeeding. 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates Across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database." Review of Income and Wealth 34:115-42.
  • Cox, W. Michael, and Richard Alm. Myths of Rich and Poor 1999
  • Danziger, Sheldon H., and Daniel H. Weinberg. "The Historical Record: Trends in Family Income, Inequality, and Poverty." Pp. 18-50 in Confronting Poverty: Prescriptions for Change, edited by Sheldon H. Danziger, Gary D. Sandefur, and Daniel. H. Weinberg. Russell Sage Foundation. 1994.
  • Firebaugh, Glenn. "Empirics of World Income Inequality." American Journal of Sociology (2000) 104:1597-1630. in JSTOR
  • Gordon, David M. Theories of Poverty and Underemployment: Orthodox, Radical, and Dual Labor Market Perspectives. 1972.
  • Haveman, Robert H. Poverty Policy and Poverty Research. University of Wisconsin Press 1987.
  • John Iceland; Poverty in America: A Handbook University of California Press, 2003
  • Alice O'Connor; "Poverty Research and Policy for the Post-Welfare Era" Annual Review of Sociology, 2000
  • Osberg, Lars, and Kuan Xu. "International Comparisons of Poverty Intensity: Index Decomposition and Bootstrap Inference." The Journal of Human Resources 2000. 35:51-81.
  • Paugam, Serge. "Poverty and Social Exclusion: A Sociological View." Pp. 41-62 in ;;The Future of European Welfare, edited by Martin Rhodes and Yves Meny 1998.
  • Amartya Sen; Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation Oxford University Press, 1982
  • Sen, Amartya. Development as Freedom (1999)
  • Smeeding, Timothy M., Michael O'Higgins, and Lee Rainwater. Poverty, Inequality and Income Distribution in Comparative Perspective. Urban Institute Press 1990.
  • Triest, Robert K. "Has Poverty Gotten Worse?" Journal of Economic Perspectives 1998. 12:97-114.

Publications and journals

  • Journal of Poverty
  • Making India Shine, New York Times - Thomas L. Friedman

See also

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Child poverty
  • Cycle of poverty
  • Diseases of poverty
  • Economic inequality
  • Fuel poverty
  • Global justice
  • Hunger
  • Income disparity
  • International inequality
  • Minimum wage
  • Orphanage
  • Pauperism
  • Poverty threshold
  • Poverty in the United States
  • Social exclusion
  • Street children
  • Subsidized housing
  • The George Foundation
  • Working poor
  • Make Poverty History
  • The Hunger Site

Organizations and campaigns

  • National Center for Children in Poverty
  • Compassion International
  • The George Foundation
  • Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
  • The Make Poverty History campaign
  • 17 October: UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty(White Band Day 4)
  • Center for Global Development
  • Child Poverty Action Group
  • Institute for Strategic Clarity Multi-stakeholder Study of Poverty in Guatemala
  • Mississippi Teacher Corps
  • World Food Day
  • Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), an international, DFID-funded partnership of universities, research institutes and NGOs which exists to focus attention on persistent, life-course and intergenerational poverty, to stimulate national and international debate, to deepen understanding of the causes of chronic poverty and to provide research, analysis and policy guidance that will contribute to its reduction.


The word "poor" came via Old French from Latin pauper, and the word "poverty" came via Old French from Latin pauperitas. Latin pauper came from from pau- = "small" and pario = "I give birth to" and originally would have referred to unproductive farmland or female livestock which failed to breed as much as wanted.

Notes and References

    • Rural Poverty Portal Powered by IFAD
    • Global Distribution of Poverty Global poverty datasets and map collection
    • Why Poor Countries are Poor
    • The End of Poverty - an interview with Jeff Sachs - Yale Economic Review
    • Social Solutions to Poverty: America's Struggle to Build a Just Society, Scott Myers-Lipton, (2006).
    • Catholic Encyclopedia "Poverty and Pauperism"
    • The Anti-Poverty Campaign
    • Poverty on the Development Gateway portal
    • Poverty on the World Bank portal
    • Poverty at the Open Directory Project
    • Unicef State of the World's Children report 2006 on different kinds of child poverty.
    • UNDP Poverty
    • UN DESA - Poverty Eradication
    • A CICRED book for download on poverty and human fertility
    • Make Poverty History
    • Community Action Partnership [1] America's Poverty Fighting Network
    • Malaria Disease of Poverty, Andrew Speilman, Harvard University Freeview video by the Vega Science Trust.
    • Education Is The Key To Reducing Poverty, Omedia
    • Poverty related Statistics by UN Millennium Project.
    • The Crime of Poverty by Henry George
    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Child_poverty". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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