Worldwide, poverty is the beast that cannot be killed. Strategies and visions try to tackle the issue of poverty, but only temporarily, because it keeps coming back again and again (sometimes even bigger and more vicious than before). Any change with the world economy quickly affects their life conditions, making the situation—in most cases—much worse.
A new study in the United Kingdom (UK)—developed by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC)—has found that more than 14 million people, including 4.5 million children are living below the breadline, according to The Guardian. “More than half of these people have been trapped in poverty for years, according to a new measure aimed at providing the most sophisticated analysis yet of material disadvantage in the UK. The measure seeks to forge a fresh political consensus between left and right over how to define and track poverty, with the aim of encouraging better-targeted poverty interventions, and making it easier to hold politicians to account. Especially, it finds poverty is prevalent in families with at least one disabled person, single-parent families, and households where no one works or who are dependent on income from irregular or zero-hours jobs,” The Guardian reported.
The SMC’s most significant innovation is to build core living costs, such as rent and childcare into its poverty measure. This recognises that even a relatively comfortable income is no guarantee that people can meet basic material needs if it is eaten up by unavoidable weekly outgoings, according to The Guardian.
All of this means that about 33% of children—an equivalent of 4.5 million—are in poverty, and there are predictions that the number will soar to a record 5.2 million over the next five years.
In the United States of America (US), the situation is not much better. American President Donald Trump has stated in July that America’s war on poverty “is largely over and a success”. The US Census Bureau reported that about $12.3 of US households live in poverty in 2017, down from 12.7% in 2016, however, one class of Americans keeps getting poorer, according to Quartz, and they are those with at least a college degree. “In 2017, some 4.8% of those with degrees lived in poverty, up from 4.5% in 2016. That means that more than 360,000 college-educated people joined the ranks of the impoverished in 2017,” Quartz said. In 2013, only 4.4% of college grads were poor, amounting to just below 3 million people, but since them, an additional 680,000 of them have slipped under the poverty line.
In Africa, the situation is much worse. A new research by the Overseas Development Institute has found that at least 400 million people who will still be living on less than $1.90 a day by 2030, despite governments pledging to eliminate all extreme poverty, according to All Africa.
“Researchers have calculated that among the poorest countries there is a funding gap of $125bn each year for health, education, and social protection, which are crucial for reducing poverty. Although increased taxation could close this gap in most middle-income countries, low-income countries will need aid to fund these social sectors and eliminate extreme poverty. Economic growth will continue to lift millions out of poverty, but health, education, and particularly social protection are severely under-funded,” it reported.
Researchers also found that if all countries maximised their income from tax then low and middle-income countries could increase revenues by $2tn to $9.4tn a year. However, 99% of this increase would be generated by middle-income countries, leaving 48 of the poorest countries unable to fully fund their education, health, and social protection. Of these, 29 severely financially challenged countries would not be able to afford even half the costs, according to All Africa.
Recognising issues is a first step on the path to solving them, but not so much with poverty, as the world seems to be perfectly aware of the severity of that issue, yet not much change is seen. Governments will have to take serious unhesitant steps, in order for things to start changing soon.