Effects of Poverty on Society Violence
Issues like hunger, illness, and poor sanitation are all causes and effects of poverty. That is to say, that not having food means being poor, but being poor also means being unable to afford food or  clean water. The effects of poverty are often interrelated so that one problem rarely occurs alone. Bad sanitation makes one susceptible to diseases, and hunger and lack of clean water makes one even more vulnerable to diseases. Impoverished countries and communities often suffer from discrimination and end up caught in a cycle of poverty.


Effects of Poverty on Society


The vicious cycle of poverty means that lifelong barriers and troubles are passed on from one generation to the next. Unemployment and low incomes create an environment where children are unable to attend school. Children must often work to provide an income for their family. As for children who are able to go to school, many fail to see how hard work can improve their lives as they see their parents struggle at every day tasks. Other plagues accompanying poverty include:

  • Crippling accidents as a result of unsafe work environments—consider the recent building collapse in Bangladesh.
  • Poor housing—a long-lasting cause of diseases.
  • Water and food related diseases that occur simply because the poor cannot afford “safe” foods.

Ultimately, poverty is a major cause of social tensions and threatens to divide a nation because of income inequality. This occurs when the wealth of a country is poorly distributed among its citizens—when a tiny minority has a majority of the money. Wealthy or developed countries maintain stability because of the presence of a middle class. However, even Western countries are gradually losing their middle class. As a result there has been an increased number of riots and clashes. For society, poverty is a very dangerous factor that can destabilize an entire country. The Arab Spring is a great example of how revolts can start because of few job opportunities and high poverty levels.


Child Poverty


The number of children affected by poverty has been increasing since the 1960s. Children are those with the least amount choice and ability to change their circumstances. There is very little they can do to help their families, nor should they have to. Usually by the age of six they can be enrolled in child labor. Nearly all the potential effects of poverty impact the lives of children—poor infrastructure, unemployment, malnutrition, domestic violence, child labor, and disease. Simply analyzing the effects of child poverty on education in developed countries alone reveal some disturbing statistics:

  • Children from poor backgrounds lag behind at all stages of education.
  • By the age of three, poorer children are estimated to be nine months behind children from wealthier backgrounds.
  • By the end of primary school, students receiving free school meals are estimated to be about three terms behind their peers.
  • By 14, this gap increases to over five terms.
  • By 16, children receiving free school meals are about 1.7 grade points below their more affluent peers’ average GPA.


Effects of Poverty and Violence


The effect of poverty on terrorism is not as straightforward as the media often perceives it to be. Poverty fuels terrorism by creating a state of misery and frustration that pushes people to join terrorist organizations. But more research shows, it is more complicated.

Of course, some terrorists come from poor countries with high unemployment, and terrorist organizations often provide higher salaries than other jobs. But terrorism may not be a direct effect of poverty. So what is the source of frustration and anger?

Studies show that countries with weak governments, fragile institutions, and limited civil rights are a great environment to nurture the production of terrorist activity. Countries undergoing difficult transitions—i.e. from authoritarian to democratic regime—often encounter political instability with the blurring of certain rules and laws.

These periods of profound change come with a transformation of social order, values, and methods of governing that many people may find distressing and unsettling. Therefore, stabilizing and empowering political institutions is a crucial part of fighting against the dangerous consequences of poverty.

– Scarlet Shelton

Sources:, CPAG, UK Government

Since its founding in India in 1965, Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT) has been dedicated to implementing disaster relief and development solutions to impoverished communities around the world. Instead of a cookie cutter based approach where every community receives the same aid regardless of circumstance, AMURT strives to localize solutions based on each community’s unique needs. With relief teams now set up and helping in 34 countries, here are 4 crisis zones where AMURT is making a major difference.

1. Ghana – Safer Water & Healthier Villages

Through the Mafi-Zongo Area Water Project, surface water from a seasonal river is treated with a variety of filters to make it safe for drinking. It is then pumped down a mountain through 45 pipes. Ghanaians pay about 2 pennies for a 20 liter bucket of water, the cost of which goes towards water treatment staffing and running the generators. Because of AMURT’s project, 9,000 people now have access to disease-free water that is not contaminated by the Guinea worm which is very prevalent in the area.

2. Syria – Help for the Displaced

The current civil war in Syria has led to a humanitarian crisis where more than 2 million refugees are fleeing to surrounding countries. The number of people increases daily, yet supplies for the displaced are dwindling. AMURT is now in Lebanon distributing precious, basic items to Syrian refugees. These goods include stoves, bedding, medicine, and 40 kilograms of food. Though it may not seem like much, these basic items mean everything for the survival of refugees.

3. Kenya – HIV/AIDS Assistance

As part of an initiative to help people living with AIDS in Kenya, AMURT has created a home-based care provider program to improve lives through “nursing care, nutritional education, [and] counseling.” These local providers are trained through the country’s Ministry of Health, and they make routine visits to AIDS patients’ homes when they are too sick to move. With this program, over 100 care providers have already been trained who are making a difference in the lives of thousands of patients and their families.

4. Haiti – Earthquake Relief

In the time since the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, AMURT raised over $4.2 million to help with the social and structural redevelopment of the country. Their main project worked on restoring well-being to Haitian children’s lives through nutritional assistance, motivational activities, and various kinds of educational enrichment. Since its inception, the psycho-social support program has reached 4,000 impoverished youth. In addition, AMURT helped thousands of people in displacement camps throughout Port-au-Prince with water filtration, cholera prevention, and even microfinance projects.

AMURT has proven that one organization can help tackle any disaster by utilizing local solutions and long-term development ideas. To find out more about AMURT and their wide-array of relief projects around the globe, visit their website.

– Caylee Pugh

Sources: AMURT, Haiti Aid Map
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