Sample Economics Paper on Poverty as a Social Issue

The primary characteristic of poverty is the inadequacy of economic resources among
people translating to low living standards. Most people live uncomfortable lives as they cannot
meet the basic human needs due to lack of income; therefore, they live in fear and apprehension.
The World Bank report in 2020 affirmed that the rate of extreme global poverty is predicted to
rise in 2020. This increase is as a result of the effects of COVID-19 together with factors such as
climate change and conflicts, and that has for some time acted as agents of poverty (The World
Bank, 2020). Although the effects of poverty vary from one society to another, sociologists
affirm that the issue is a severe social concern that bears adverse implications to all societies

Description of Poverty

Poverty is a severe social issue affecting many families and communities across the
globe. The impact of poverty on societies is adverse; for instance, it results in a rise in school
dropouts and an increased rate of criminal activities. Also, the effects of poverty are
interconnected; for instance, children who do not get enough food cannot stay in school (Naven
et al., 2019). These minors drop out of school, and due to their lack of basic needs and idle
moments. They are also compelled to adapt unwanted behaviors such as substance abuse, which
drives them to other ills like crime and sexual immorality. Therefore poverty is a significant
social issue that affects individuals and societies at large.
The Sociology of Poverty

Sociologists argue that poverty is a concern that directly impacts individuals and society's
growth and development. In most cases, people living in poverty cannot get the opportunity to be
educated nor plan for their children (Naven et al., 2019). Furthermore, since the poor live

segregated lives, they are compelled to embrace adaptive patterns of life through unethical
actions that are not in line with societal expectations. These actions include unplanned extended
families, high rates of separations and divorce, petty criminal activities, dependence on public
assistance, family violence, and other casual social constructions that are not approved by
society. Poverty causes individuals not to access the proper quality of life as anticipated by
society, particularly education, which directly influences their normal processes (Tierney,
2015).The expected quality of life includes elements such as the balanced dispersal of life
prospects, certain attainment of a minimum standard of living for a person, access to learning,
employment opportunities, social security, and health care. All these factors have a direct impact
on society, and when one misses them, a concern emerges.
Theories of Poverty

Two primary theories explain poverty: the situational view of poverty and the culture of
poverty model. According to the situational view of poverty philosophy, the poor behave
inconsistently with their conditions. On the other hand, the culture of poverty concept affirms
that individuals’ standards and cultural values are the primary factors that make them be poor
(Varenne & Scroggins, 2015). The culture of poverty models stipulates that people learn the
norms and cultural values as they are brought up in poor conditions, which shapes their prospects
and openings they get in life. Subsequently, the culture of poverty concept posits that the poor
are the principal causes of poverty. Contrariwise, the situational view theory upholds that while
poor persons are not similar to the middle class, their circumstances and surroundings are the
main causes of their poverty conditions. The culture of poverty theory states that for the poor to
depart from their condition, they must change their environment and mental perception.

Conversely, the situational view philosophy maintains that a change in the situation is the only
way the poor persons address the issue of poverty.
Poverty in the US

According to sociologists in the United States, poverty entails the absence of average or
money or material assets. The poverty level is used in the nation to quantify the level of poverty.
According to the ratio applied, poverty entails the lack of goods and services normally taken for
granted by the general populace. Poverty is a concern in the US since not everyone nor do
households live above the poverty threshold (Haymes et al., 2017).  Significant populations of
the US residents live below the poverty line, which automatically makes them be considered
poor. Noticeably, high levels of poverty are witnessed among Latinos and African Americans as
compared to Whites. This contradiction is attributed to racial and ethnic discrimination that is
rampant in the US. Thus, the social concern of poverty exists in the US; nonetheless, the
situation is not widespread as compared to other countries, particularly developing nations.


Poverty is a concern to many nations across the globe. Sociologists affirm that the social
concern bears adverse impacts on the effects and society in general. Besides, poverty as a
condition spills its effects on other social problems. For instance, the lack of food causes health
issues, particularly to children, due to poor nutrition. Also, children from low-income families
end up dropping out of school due to a lack of basic requirements such as tuition fees and food.
Consequently, these minors retort to crime to get money through illegal activities due to idleness
and the need to get some basic income. This connection also causes them not to look for
employment opportunities and get genuine income. Children from poor backgrounds also cannot
survive in schools due to a lack of moral upbringing to withstand the learning environment.

These minors extend the chain of poverty in their families as they do not get a foundation that
can lead the future opportunities in life. Therefore, poverty is a social concern that affects people
and society at large.



Haymes, S. N., De, H. M. V., & Miller, R. J. (Eds.). (2017). The Routledge handbook of poverty
in the United States. Routledge.
Naven, L., Egan, J., Sosu, E. M., & Spencer, S. (2019). The influence of poverty on children’s
school experiences: Pupils’ perspectives. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 27(3),
The World Bank. (2020, October 7). COVID-19 to add as many as 150 million extreme poor by
Tierney, W.G. (Ed.) (2015). Rethinking education and poverty. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns
Hopkins University Press
Varenne, H., & Scroggins, M. (2015). Culture of poverty: Critique. International Encyclopedia
of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 5, 591-595.