According to scholars, poverty is just not what it used to be.

With approximately 1.4 billion people living at the poverty line or below, policymakers are reevaluating what the definition of poverty truly comes down to.

“The incidence of poverty in the world is higher than past estimates have suggested. The main reason is that [previous data] had implicitly underestimated the cost of living in most developing countries,” according to The World Bank.

The data fails to reflect the recent global food crisis and increasing costs of energy. These two factors alone are predicted to bring another 100 million people into poverty.

Previously, the label of “poverty” was defined in the terms of income, in reference to the “minimum flow of cash needed to pay for recurring expenses.” Recently, individuals are arguing that these definitions of poverty “fail to measure what it really takes to get by.”

Ending poverty, however, is now seen as not enough to move families beyond “the outskirts of hope.”

The average single mother who has an income of $15,500 is considered to be in the spectrum of poverty. Studies show, that even if that persons income increases to $15,600 and she is moved out of poverty, the financial stability is still minimal.

According to an article by The Huffington Post, “escaping the perpetual financial insecurity of low-wage work requires more than incrementally higher wages, it requires savings and investments for the future. Income helps families get by, but savings and investments help them get ahead.”

The key to overcoming poverty begins with access to a bank account and the proper knowledge of how to use it to sustain funds. The savings are necessary in times of emergency, while the investments build stability for an endured period of time.

Although the overall poverty rate has declined in the last 10 years, keeping individuals out of poverty and preventing others from delving into it is another task entirely.

In addition to savings and investments, reducing inequality and reducing income differences are also key to reducing poverty. The road to ending global poverty is an enduring one, but each great journey begins with a single step.

Samaria Garrett

Sources: Huffington Post, Global Issues