Impact of poverty

Poverty brings about a myriad of complications. The effects usually depend on the kind of poverty in question. Let us see more below:

Hunger, Health, and Deaths.

Absolute poverty results in extreme hunger, starvation, and malnutrition. People (and children) become vulnerable to preventable diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and tuberculosis, with no access to health services and medications. Death rates rise. Relative poverty, on the other hand, forces people to engage in behaviors that expose them to diseases such as HIV Aids. While they may not starve to death, they may be living on unhealthy foods, which ultimately weaken their immunity and expose them to diseases.

Infectious diseases continue to blight the lives of the poor across the world. An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities: Africa accounts for 90 percent of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide. —Source: 2007 Human Development Report (HDR), United Nations Development Program, November 27, 2007, p.25.

Social and Political

Relative poverty may cause people to indulge in social vices such as drugs, prostitution, and petty crimes as a means to meet their immediate needs. In many developing countries, political leaders and rebel leaders take advantage and recruit young people, (especially those in relative poverty) to fight for their interests, in return for food and basic needs. These young folks feel vulnerable if they do not comply, as they have no other way out of their situation.


People in absolute poverty simply cannot afford food, water, and shelter. They are not healthy enough to undertake any economic activity. They cannot send their young to school, and the youth cannot get any skills. This results in the economic breakdown of the community, which directly affects the larger region where they are. Also, those in relative poverty, who have a bit of training or education, are forced to move out (migrate) in search of better lives in the cities. That deprives the rural areas of the man-power and makes their situation worse. As they migrate into the cities, they end up in slums, increase populations, and put pressure on amenities in the cities.