Topics: Poverty, Childhood, Sociology Pages: 10 (3510 words) Published: February 12, 2013
In this part of my assignment I aim to look at poverty. I will try to explain what is meant by the term poverty, and the impact this is having on children and young people. I will look at what has been done nationally to eradicate the problem and try to discuss whether these measures have been effective. Sociologist and researchers have favoured two different approaches to poverty: absolute poverty and relative poverty. The concept of absolute poverty is grounded in the idea of subsistence- the basis conditions that must be met in order to sustain a physically healthy existence. People who lack these fundamental requirements for human existence-such as sufficient food, shelter and clothing are said to live in poverty. The concept of absolute poverty is seen as universally applicable to all countries. Any individual anywhere in the world, can be said to live in poverty if he or she fall before this universal standard’ The most commonly used way to measure poverty is based on incomes. A person is considered poor if his or her level of income falls below the minimum level necessary to meet basis needs. This minimum level is usually called the “poverty lines”. What is necessary to satisfy basis needs varies Barnardos’s chief executive, November (2012), reports that, Debating how child poverty is measured must not distract from the urgent need for action to improve the life chances of children currently growing up in families that are languishing below the breadline. Which is why Barnardo’s urges the government to keep measuring income, but also help families climb their way up and out of the poverty trap by helping them to manage debt, understand what benefits they are entitled to and manage the impact of rising fuel prices? There is also a concern that the government is seeking to change the definition of poverty and the way it is measured because it knows how far off it is from meeting the 2020 target to end child poverty. The institute of Fiscal Studies projections show that by 2020 a further 1 million children will be pushed into poverty unless action is taken now. Social exclusion is a new term used by government. The current prime minister, David Cameron described social exclusion ”… a shorthand label for what can happen when individual’s or area suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown”. Child poverty has a corrosive impact on a child’s life chances, as long as children are living in poverty, “their life chances and their rights are significantly compromised”. Poverty has an effect on children’s health and life chances, children growing up in poverty are two and a half times more likely to have a chronic illness and suffer from a mental health issue. It also undermines learning as by the age of three a child living in poverty is nine months behind their age group, this gap continues to increase throughout their school life. If you are poor you are more likely to live in poor quality housing, and suffer from health problems Giddens (2012), also poor people who are excluded from social activities, and a wide range of other aspects of modern life, which could lead to deprivation for those excluded from them. These services and activities such as the access and ability to use information and communication technology, banking leisure activities and the right to basic play for children, all of which are a fundamental right and essential elements to modern life Early efforts to address the effects of poverty, such as the poorhouses of the nineteenth century, were grounded in a belief that poverty was the result of inadequacy or pathology of individuals. The poor were seen as those who were unable-because of lack of skills and have no motivation to change. Many people regard the poor as responsible for their own difficulties and are suspicious of those who live on ‘government hand-outs. Yet these views...
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