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Poverty is a Controversial Issue.

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Poverty is a Controversial Issue Introduction In sociology we have been studying the welfare state, which is a social system under which the state has responsibility for protecting the health and welfare of its citizens. The welfare state was established as a safety net to protect the vulnerable members of society and provide them a satisfactory level of income, health care, education and housing level. Poverty was introduced in our group, with two questions. Which were 'What do you think poverty is? And 'What groups suffer from poverty? We all wrote down our opinions and shared them as a group, the opinions have been shown in the appendix, I have used this as primary evidence on different definitions on what poverty is. We came to a conclusion that poverty was when someone has low income or no income and cannot cope with everyday expenses. We were also given a sheet with statements on what poverty was, we had to choose the most satisfactory statement to what poverty is. Figure 1 shows the results of what we thought describes poverty. Figure 1: Poverty is... % Homeless people sleeping on the street 45% Always being short of money 40% Destitution or extreme hardship 35% starving 30% Existing rather than living 20% Having insufficient money to make choices 15% Not being able to pay the television license fee 5% Feeling hungry all the time 5% Buying second-hand clothes 0% Not being able to afford a holiday 0% Living in bed and breakfast accommodation 0% The group thought 'homeless people sleeping on the street' and 'always being short of money' were the two most satisfactory statements describe what poverty is. ...read more.


Figure 4: Necessity Public (%) Heating to warm living areas of the home it's cold 97% Damp-free home 96% Indoor toilet (not shared with another household) 96% Bath (not shared with another household) 94% Beds for everyone in the household 94% Public transport for one's needs 88% A warm water-proof coat 87% Three meals a day for children 82% Self-contained accommodation 79% Two pairs of all-weather shoes 78% This list of necessities gave us an indication of what people regarded as being the most important necessities in life in 1985. This survey was redone in1991 to see if the public's attitudes had changed, as the old survey was out of date. Mac and Lansely found that one in five of the population lacked three of these necessities or more, which they defined living in poverty. In Figure 5, I have shown what we as a group thinks the main necessities for life are. Figure 5: Necessity Group (%) Refrigerator 100% Heating to warm living areas of the home if it's cold. 100% Three meals a day for children 88% A warm water-proof coat 87% Damp-free home 69% Bath (not shared with another household) 69% Public transport for one's needs 69% Indoor toilet (not shared with another household) 63% Toys for the children 63% A telephone 63% Mac and Lansely surveyed adults, our group which were surveyed were teenagers. By looking at both tables of results, I can see what the public regards as the most important things in life, which we as a group find we can live without. ...read more.


For children, going to school and seeing other children of the same age with belongings and possessions that they want but they know they cannot due to financial problems may be difficult. Children in lone-parent families may be irrationally exposed particular to poverty. Alan Walker (1997) suggests that this means that two generations are being destroyed by poverty at the same time. Lone-parent families also suffer from poverty because they are prevented from getting a full-time job because of the lack of childcare facilities. From looking at my questionnaire, some people suggest single parents also suffer from poverty because they can only work part time which in general get lower rates of pay. The costs of childcare often mean single parents cannot afford to work. The majority of single parents are women, who in any case get less pay than men. This may lead to them finding it hard to pay for the bills and the child or children's needs, for example school uniform, equipment for school and general belongings. Poverty is a controversial issue because there is no single agreed way of defining it. This means different researchers work with different definitions of poverty. Defining poverty has proved difficult as many researchers have their own definitions. Defining poverty is difficult for a number of reasons. We need to be able to define poverty in order to identify and measure it. Definitions of poverty affect how we measure poverty and the extent in which it exists. Our definition of poverty also influences our views and how it should be tackled. 1 Pavandeep Johal 11Z Poverty Coursework ...read more.

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