Explain the causes of Absolute & Relative Poverty in the UK

Authors Avatar by ootomhd (student)

Explain the causes of absolute and relative poverty in the UK (15)

Poverty is caused by both a low real national income relative to a to a countries total population size and by inequalities in the distributions of income and wealth. The former leads to absolute poverty for most of a country’s inhabitants, whereas the latter causes relative poverty.

Absolute poverty occurs when income is below a particular level. It refers to a set standard which is consistent over time and between countries. Measuring poverty by an absolute threshold has the advantage of applying the same standard across different locations and time periods, making comparisons easier. However, it does not take into account that you need different levels of income in different places, for example, a cup of coffee is more expensive in England than it is in Brazil.

Relative poverty is suffered by a household if its income is below a specified proportion of average income for all households. Relative poverty defines ‘poverty’ as being below a relative poverty threshold. It classifies individuals or families as ‘poor’ not by comparing them to a fixed cut-off point, but by comparing them to others in the population under study.

Join now!

When all incomes grow, absolute poverty falls, however, relative poverty only falls if low incomes grow at a faster rate than average incomes. For the most part, the problem of poverty in the UK is one of relative poverty. Because the UK is a high-income, developed economy in which welfare benefits provide a minimum income and safety net for the poor, very few people suffer from absolute poverty.

There are three main causes of relative poverty and one I will discuss in relation to absolute poverty. The first of the causes of relative poverty is old age. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay