There are two ways to categorize poverty in a sociologist viewpoint. Absolute poverty simply refers to the condition in which one is unable to afford the necessities of life, whereas relative poverty refers to the condition in which one is unable to afford that which is considered a normal standard of living in society. Absolute poverty is far more worse than relative poverty because they could quite possible not have a house or food to live on for everyday survival. There are basically five different categories in which each poverty stricken person can be placed in. The first category are those who are not able to work because they are too old, too young, disabled, or tied down by social responsibility. The second category are those who are able and qualified to work but can not find work. The third category are those who are not equipped to fill available jobs either because they are undereducated or because their skills have become outdated. The fourth category are those whose social and personal problems have brought them to a point of self-defeating discouragement. The last category are those who are underpaid, or unable to get a fair price for what they have to sell. After defining which people are in poverty, these categories can answer my question of why are they in poverty and how they can be helped.
For economic factors, low wages would be the variable that would lead to poverty. Families that receive low wages can barely support their living expenses. Thus they would not have enough money for programs that would aid their children's education. Some families think that crime has better incentives than working a low paying job and thus crime could be put in as an economic factor that leads to poverty. Not having enough money for programs like education leads to the individual behavior of illiteracy and lower education, since the parents cannot afford to send their children to upper level education. And if these children know that they have no future in higher education, they will not have the motivation to do well in school and thus dropping out of school. In turn this will lead to having low self-esteem because they know that they will basically be stuck in poverty for the rest of their lives. This can eventually lead to substance abuse because they need something to overcome their high levels of stress that is produced by low-self esteem. In turn substance abuse could lead to sickness and disease, and then could possibly lead to mental illness. Once this happens, individual behavior will cause families to be in poverty.
For social factors, discrimination would be the variable that causes poverty. Racial discrimination from an employer could lead for that person to not receive a higher paying job, in which could lead to violence from the potential employee towards the employer. In turn crime could be committed in rejection of the employer. Thus the social factor of violence interconnects with the economic factor of crime. Also racial discrimination could lead to institutional discrimination. Thus this will lead to substandard schools in which teachers are told to split up a class and place each student in a designated group depending on their race and the teacher's assumptions of the student's learning ability from their social classifications.
For cultural factors, biased IQ test would be interconnected to substandard schools. These tests measure a student's...