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Poverty - Introduction

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Poverty - Introduction - Lesson Summary

Poverty can be defined as the lack of common things like food, clothing, shelter, safe drinking water, medical care and education, which determine the quality of life. Nearly 25% of our entire population lives in poverty. Poverty exists in both urban and rural India.

There are certain things that are common in the life of poor people in urban and rural India. These include hunger and malnutrition, lack of proper housing and shelter, no healthcare in case of illness and no regular job and income, lack of sanitation and safe drinking water, no education for children, hopelessness and ill-treatment.

Social scientists use different types of indicators to understand poverty. The most commonly used indicators relate to the levels of income of people and their consumption of goods. Poverty is also observed using other social indicators like lack of education, healthcare, sanitation and safe drinking water.

The concept of social exclusion states that poor people have to live in poor surroundings excluded from neighborhoods of people who are better off. Social exclusion leads to lack of social equality and exclusion from facilities, benefits and opportunities enjoyed by others.

Social exclusion can be both an effect and a cause of poverty. A person may be forced to live in poor surroundings because he or she is poor. Social exclusion excludes people from equal opportunities of education, healthcare, employment and general quality of life. Vulnerability is the measure of the probability of certain groups of people becoming poor or remaining poor in future.

Vulnerability is determined by the availability of options for employment, education and healthcare, etc. It is also determined by the ability of people to handle bad times and natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and tsunamies. Poor people are more vulnerable to poverty. 

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