Does geography affect poverty?

By Kate M

Some people would argue that there is a relationship between geography and poverty. Some people would disagree and say that there was no relationship. Poverty is something measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau has a certain set of "money income thresholds." These vary depending on the size of the family and the composition of the family. These factors determine who is poor. If the family income is less then the poverty threshold then the family is poor. Poverty thresholds do not vary geographically.

There is not a relationship between geography and poverty. One example of this is can be seen by looking at Singapore. Singapore gained its independence in 1965. Very quickly, the new government began to decrease the poverty levels. One of their main goals was to make sure that as many people as possible had housing. They also worked very hard on equal education opportunities for everyone. These were their main strategies for decreasing poverty. Singapore now has a 5% poverty level. This is a very low level. However, Singapore has no natural resources. They survive entirely on trade. Despite their geographical location in a place with no natural resources, they have incredibly low poverty levels. This shows that geography and poverty don't have a strong connection.

Some people would argue that there is a relationship between geography and poverty. One example of this is in the United States. 13% of America lives in poverty. The most impoverished areas in the U.S. are Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Why these states are the most impoverished is questionable. However, there has to be a certain relationship between geography and poverty if certain states in the U.S. are more impoverished compared to others. Another example of this is in many tropical countries. In 1995, tropical countries had an average income equivalent to 1/3 of the income of "temperate-zone" countries. There are 24 countries considered "industrial." None of them lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn except for some Hawaiian Islands and Northern Australia. One easy example that occurs many times is simple to look at. There are just certain places that are more impoverished then others. If some of the research was done, you may be able to find out how; maybe you wouldn't be able. Nevertheless, certain areas have more poverty. For example, members of the ASEAN (Association of the southeastern Nations) have many different types of countries. They have two high-income countries: Singapore and Brunei. Three lower middle income countries: Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand. Also, four low-income countries: Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Although, all these countries belong to the ASEAN and are located in southeastern Asia they have different income and poverty levels. In addition, poverty is very prominent in Asia; it affects 900 million people in Asia, which is 75% of the impoverished people in the world. Yet, another example is in Britain. Poverty is usually much greater in Northern Britain then in Southern Britain. It is also greater in cities rather than in rural areas. The largest areas of wealth are in Southeast Britain. These examples point towards the idea that there is some sort of relationship between geography and poverty even if that relationship is unknown.

People can argue either way, and this issue may be argued over forever. However, it is an issue that is important to study because it can determine the way people live and how we help everyone who lives on Earth.



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Poverty and Geography

By Halley Z

Europe and Africa are two very different continents; however, both happen to have poverty issues. Some of the issues are related to the geography of the area but some are not. The geography of the land has a huge impact on the lives of the people. If the geography has no bodies of water in or near the "city" area, then all of these people in the "city" won't have any water, and they eventually will have to pay extra for water to be imported to them from other places.

In Europe and Africa there is poverty. Furthermore, in every place in the world there is poverty. Even in the richest places, there is poverty hiding somewhere. There are many reasons why we should look at poverty and here are a few of them. In some ways, poverty and geography are related. Poverty and geography are related because if there is limited resources in the geography than there could possibly be more poverty. There would maybe be more poverty because there are limited resources depending on the type of geographical resources that can not be used.

Of the many reasons, that poverty and geography are related is because in Africa there was a huge poverty rush. This poverty rush was from a huge drought, which caused the lands to split, and the crops were ruined. Because of the drought the plates shifted and they had screwed up the land and all of the crops. The people of Africa at this time were suffering because they had no food or even water because of this drought. They were eating maize and grass. There was not a lot of this "food" to go around but they used it as well as they could. This shows how poverty and geography are related because the people starved because of the drought that cracked the land and caused the plates to shift, which then ruined their crops. Better, yet the crops were were they got their food to live from?

Another reason is from tests that were done in Italy in 1998. In Italy in 1998, there were 24,201,964 households in Italy. 21,643,964 were residential households that were well off but 2,558,000 were poverished, or they were living in poor households. That's a little over 10%. They were poverished because of the geography in their areas. You can see aside from the geographical aspect of things the educational level of things has an effect on the poverty level.

In different parts of Italy, there are rates of poverty depending on the geography. The rates are all about percentages. There are North, South, and Central parts of Italy. In addition, there are also different rates of poverty in each of those places as in types of poverty if it's extreme or not.

The poverty is based on this "basket." The basket includes all this stuff about how you have enough money for the purchase of food. In addition, for dwelling and other needs for a household.

The increase in poverty in the North, South and Center are based on the geography. The percents have really raised in 1998 because of geographical problems.

In around 1820, Western Europe was 2.9 times richer than Africa. In about 1992, Western Europe had risen to be about 13.2 times richer than Africa. In just around 1997 the richest 20% of the world's population enjoyed 74 times the income of the lowest 20% as opposed to 30 times in 1960.

The countries that have more poverty usually have a greater poverty level are usually tropical regions or they face large transportation costs in accessing world markets and also accessing trades. In just about 1995, tropical countries had an average income equivalent to 1/ of the income that temperate-zone countries had. Of 24 countries that were considered to be "industrial," not one of them was between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn except, for some Hawaiian Islands and Northern Australia.

What I have realized is that areas hat are closer to the coast have better economy but they also have less money than areas that are more inland.
The incidence of poverty id greater in Northern than in Southern Britain. The incidence of poverty in also greater in small towns and rural areas but it is not likely to see as much poverty as in the places before than in a large city. From looking at allot of research it seems to me that the geography has a large impact on the amount of poverty.

Poverty & Government

By Britnai N.

There are many things that the governments of countries in the world are doing to reduce poverty. The world's government officials came together when they saw that about 2.8 billion people, which is half of the world's population were living on less than $2 per day, they knew they had to come up with a plan to lessen poverty. One worldwide organization that is trying to reduce poverty is called the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF). The main purpose of this organization is to reduce poverty in the poorest countries. There are about 77 countries that are eligible for money to help build up their country's economy. The money that is being lent is being taken from the PRGF Trust.

The government in Brazil, which is in South America, is an example of a country trying to reduce poverty levels. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is now working with the Brazilian government on its fight to decrease poverty levels. When Brazil's government officials saw that over 50 million Brazilians were living so far below the poverty rate that they were starving the government decided that it needed to do something about it. So in 2001 Brazil decided to limit their historic consumption levels. Their strategy to lower the poverty level is to restore the energy sector, which would remove one of the problems in Brazil's economy. Brazil's government also wanted make sure that both urban and rural poor people have affordable electricity services. In conclusion there are many programs and organizations to help Brazil in its fight against poverty.

Another country that is trying to reduce poverty is Spain. All of the cities in Spain are working hard to defeat poverty but Madrid, Spain's capital seems to be doing the best job. About 54.5% of the population in Madrid live below the poverty line and 15% of which are living in extreme poverty. So, Madrid's newly-elected Peruvian government committed to provide $1 billion to help pay for Peru's Social Emergency, Economic Recovery and Democratic Governance Program. The intent of the Social Program is to help reduce poverty and raise the employment level. Another Madrid is trying to attack poverty is that many studies are taking place to investigate how they can reduce the poverty levels. In conclusion there are many programs trying to reduce the level on poverty in Madrid, Spain.

Ethiopia is another country with a government trying to reduce poverty. Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. One-third of its population, which is 64 million, lives on less than $1 per day and the other two-thirds lives on less than $2 per day. When Ethiopia's government got these statistics back their government decided to take action. Ethiopia's government decided that poverty reduction required agricultural growth as well. The government is now using the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is a plan to help lower the poverty level. The poverty reduction in Ethiopia was one of the declared targets of the first National Development Program. Another program to help decrease poverty levels in Ethiopia is the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility which the authorities sought out in 2001. The center of this strategy is to raise economic growth. There is also a paper called the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which is a new piece of an anti-poverty strategy that was announced by the World Bank in 1999. One last organization that is trying to help decrease the level of poverty in Ethiopia is the UNCDF. The UNCDF's goal is to provide financial assistance to 1,5000 low-income Ethiopians. This project is called the Lafto Urban Development Project. In conclusion there are many organization and projects going on to help lower the level of poverty in Ethiopia.
In conclusion there are many ways that the government are using to tackle the levels of poverty throughout the world.


More on Government & Poverty

By Ashley S.

Developed countries are those viewed as wealthy, but even in these countries, poverty is still and issue. The governments of these countries attempt to lower the poverty rate by utilizing many methods. There are so many countries considered developed and the government of each have different methods and plans to combat poverty in their countries. Three countries, the United States, Australia, and France's governmental strategies for decreasing poverty will be examined here in greater detail.

The United States government is one that has many plans to aid in the attempted elimination of poverty. Social security is a collection of government established social welfare programs. Many of these welfare programs were created to aid already impoverished people. The programs are controlled by the local, state, and federal levels of government and account for slightly more than half of all government spending. It is predicted that, without these social welfare programs, twice as many Americans would have income below the poverty line. There are many ways in which the United States provides welfare. There are programs, called cash assistance programs, which provide impoverished people with money to spend as they choose. Some programs provide specific things or at least the means to obtain them. Programs to help obtain housing for the poor include providing public housing, subsidized rents, or vouchers to lower private housing costs. In terms of food and nourishment, there are coupons to pay for the cost of food. There are also programs which provide services and aid in obtaining services in areas such as health care, childcare, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation as well as others. Creating subsidized jobs for the unemployed and tax discounts for the poor are welfare programs as well. In the United States, the government dictates parameters to determine who will receive welfare services. The government first examines the National Mean Income. The National Mean Income is the estimate of how much a typical person would make over a period of time which is usually calculated over one year. Those people whose income is below the National Mean Income are considered to be living in poverty. Some welfare programs are targeted towards these people, they are called means-tested welfare programs. Other forms of income support do not follow this criteria and are called non-means-tested welfare programs. Many of the United States programs are geared to attempting to equip poor people with the tools to become self sufficient such as programs assisting with job skills training and employment. This is just some of what the United States Government does in order to combat poverty.

The Australian government is another that has many methods in attempting to squelch poverty. High levels of unemployment have contributed to the increase of Government interest in addressing the problem of poverty. They have developed a generous public assistance program. To all citizens, they guarantee health care access by distributing public funds for privately provided health care. The government also offers allowances for parents in attempts to assist with some of the costs of raising children. They also provide benefits to those suffering from disability or old age. In many countries, the minority groups tend to be over represented in their rate of poverty. In Australia, Aboriginal families still exist and are considered to be a minority group. The poverty rate among aboriginal people is three times that of the non-Aboriginal people. The government attempts to even out available income among all its people by collecting taxes and spending this money on services such as education, health, and housing as well as support payments to those with low incomes. This is referred to as a tax transfer system. In another effort, the government increased the minimum wage by 4.4%, this was called the 2002 Safety Net Wage Decision. Since this raise applies to about 23% of Australia's employees, this could make an impact on reducing poverty. Again, these are just a few of the strategies and programs implemented by the Australian government in attempts to reduce poverty.

Finally, the French government is also addressing the problem of poverty in many ways. France provides its inhabitants with health insurance. For the majority of the population, it covers some of the cost of medical, pharmaceutical, as well as hospitalization costs. They offer complete coverage for low-income people, those who are unemployed, and children under ten years of age. The French Citizens are provided with maternity benefits, disability, and old age insurance. Similar to the policy in Australia, money is given to parents to help reduce the financial strain of raising children. In fact, the poverty rate for children in France is four times lower then that of children in the United States. To aid in providing housing for low income families, France provides low- or no-interest housing loans and the establishment of new towns is promoted through government subsidies. These among other programs are the French governments attempt to alleviate poverty.

The governments of the United States, Australia, and France have all established many programs to attempt to reduce the level of poverty in their countries. Though each has developed their own methods, many parallels exist. They all emphasize programs for children, the elderly, and the disabled. Each country's program has its own strengths and weaknesses. Not only is the objective of these governments to lower the poverty rate, but to attempt to eradicate poverty. This mission seems to be quite difficult, if not impossible, but the governments of these countries will surely continue to try.


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Poverty in Europe

By Fonda C

There is not much proof about the economy and poverty being related to each other, although there are many assumptions. It is widely thought that a poor economy will increase the amount of poverty in a country. Is this theory true? The following essay will discuss the relationship between poverty and the economy in Europe.

Russia, the largest country in Europe, has many problems related to its economy. These problems affect the poverty greatly. In 2001, there were 145,470,197 people in Russia. However, Russia's growth rate is ­0.35%, meaning that there will be less people to help Russia expand politically, culturally, agriculturally, but most importantly, economically. 10.5% of the population is unemployed, and a there is also a lot of underemployment. This is especially bad for Russia because its economy is already in a bad situation. Ever since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Russia's economy has suffered greatly. It is heavily dependent on exports from other countries. 80% of the exports are daily commodities like oil, natural gas, metal, and timber, which makes Russia vulnerable to high prices. Russia's inflation rate is 20.6%! It is not a coincidence that along with having a poor economy, Russia also has poor poverty rates. 40% of the population lives in poverty! It is clearly visible that a bad economy is giving Russia a high poverty rate.

Italy has diversified economy that diversifies its poverty rate. North Italy is more industrial and modern. This part of Italy is living with more technological advanced equipment more industry, etc. The ISTAT, an organization releasing data on Italian poverty, said that Northern Italy had only 5.7% poverty in 1998 (where the poverty line is defined as a monthly income of less than 1,500,000 lire). Southern Italy is a more agricultural and less modernized part of Italy, not having as much fun as Northern Italy. According to the ISTAT, Southern Italy had a 23.2% poverty rate and 65% of the people in Southern Italy are "at risk", or just above the poverty line. Because of this extreme diversity, the economy of Italy has suffered from weakness. The inflation rate was 2.5% and most raw materials and energy materials needed by Italy are imported. The unemployment rate of Italy is 12.4% and it is estimated that this year, the rate will increase by .1%, and the year after, .2% and so on and so forth. The people have suffered from poverty. 13% of the population was poor, 8% lived just above the line, and 5% lived in "absolute poverty". It is obvious that economy reflects poverty.

Germany is also a large European country that has a diverse economy. Eastern Germany is modern and economically strong, helping to make Germany the third most technologically strong country in the world. However, this strength is taken from the hard work and poorer conditions of Western Germany. About $70 billion is sent from Western to Eastern Germany every year. Because of the extreme difference in economy, Germany's poverty rates suffer greatly. An independent labor organization that aids the homeless, the BAG, has done some research on Germany's poverty. Because there is so much unemployment (4.8 million people nationwide), there is a lot of poverty too. The number of homeless citizens and immigrants added together is about 860,000 people. That's the size of Germany's fourth-largest city ­ Cologne. 2.7 million people are in serious debt and 1 million are under the threat of homelessness. In 1996-97's winter, 27 people froze to death on Germany's streets and everyday about 600 people sleep on the streets.

France, unlike Russia, Germany, and Italy, has a reliable economy for the most part. The only problems it might have are any normal problems in any economy or stock market that might come up. The constant, reliable nature of France's economy is shown in its poverty rates. Only about 2,013 out of the 59,551,227 people in France live in poverty. This is so small an amount it is hardly considerable, compared to the rates of Russia and Italy. When research is made for French poverty rates, little is found because there is so little poverty in France. A good economy supports France with lower poverty rates.

In conclusion, the characteristics of a country's economy truly reflect that country's poverty rates. Russia demonstrates well what a poor economy can do to the poverty rate (boost it up) whereas an extremely diverse economy like that of Italy and Germany can cause poverty rates to be diverse and a reliable economy like France's will help poverty rates to decrease. In Europe, it is definitely true that a country's poverty rates are based on its economy.

Poverty in the US

By Alexa G.

Poverty affects economy in the United States in many ways. After looking at the statistics and background information, it is obvious that awareness needs to be raised about this topic. Many factors can cause poverty, especially in urban centers. Robert Fowler, the Canadian prime minister's representative, comments, "Providing assistance and building a new partnership will help lift significant numbers of marginalized and desperate people out of poverty and give them a sense of hope."

One way that poverty affects the economy is that there is continuing racial prejudice and discrimination in the United States. Most poor people are "White"; however, the number of poor Black and Hispanic people is extremely large as well. Poverty levels are higher in urban areas for all races. An example of how poverty in the US causes racial prejudice is Employers think a certain race will do a bad job working for them because of their skin color and label all people of that race as indolent. If they see a person of that race sitting on the streets they might judge the reason that they are there because of their work ethics. This doesn't give poor people good opportunities. Another example of how poverty affects the economy is spatial distribution of employment. This means that there are more high-quality jobs offered in the suburbs, while there are more poor people living in urban areas. It is more inconvenient for poor people to get to their jobs because most don't have cars. Therefore, it's harder to get a good job in the city for people who are poor. One last example is the structural changes in urban economy. If someone in the lower class gets a city job and there are fundamental changes being made, obviously, they can't work and have to get a new job. As a result, there are many examples of how poverty affects the economy in the United States. A lot of employers don't take the time to look at the lower class, and that effects the economy. This can cause rising lack of jobs, increasing number of crimes and drug addiction, increased welfare dependency amongst many other outcomes.

Poverty has changed dramatically over time. For example, it was at 22% in the 1950's. There was a a decrease from 1959-1969 to 12.1%. In 1971, there was an increased percentage of 12.5% because of a sluggish economy.1972-3. The percentage decreased, and then increased two years succeeding. Then it averaged to 11.5% for the next few years. In 1978, it increased steadily and in 1983 hit 15.2%, which was the highest peak of poverty in the United States. In 2000, there was a level of 11.3%.

The rate of poor people in the United States changes significantly because of many factors. For example, a greater ratio of people in 2000 lived in families with at least one worker, than the peak percentage of 1993 (15.1%). The poverty rate for these families dropped since 1993. Nevertheless, poor family members in 2000 were more likely to be living with at least one worker. This component reveals how poverty has changed over time in the United States. In conclusion, poverty has changed extensively over the course of time because of sluggish economy, work ethics, etc.

Poverty eventually leads to terrorism. For example, many people think that those terrorists that were involved in the September 11th attacks came from lower class families, but substantially, they came from middle class families. Osama bin Laden was born into a wealthy Saudi family. People associate being a bad person with being poor, which is not always the case. Another example is if someone doesn't have a lot of money, and all they have are their beliefs then they might do something drastic to show support. This is because all they have is their beliefs. As a result, if poverty remains at a high level and continues affecting the economy in a negative way, it can cause extreme incidences.

Poverty affects the economy in the United States. There is a significant contrast between the wealthy and poor. For all races, poverty is an issue. Many things can cause poverty, and many outcomes and results of poverty. It can cause terrorism and other occurrences. Poverty in the United States can influence things as well, such as trade. Statistics and background information about poverty help to prove the topic to be an authentic issue in the United States.






Poverty in Russia ­ An Assessment

Conditions for Workers Deteriorate under the Center-left D'Alama Government

Poverty in France and Germany

Homelessness in Germany: The Visible Form of True Poverty

Picture of Poverty in the US

Picture of Poverty in Europe

Picture of Poverty of a Volga German Family

Picture of Jews in Europe and Poverty

US Census Bureau

Poverty 2000 Highlights

Economy and Culture (North America, Asia, and Africa)

By Ang L

Culture has both spiritual and substantial meanings. The first meaning of culture describes beliefs, shared values, knowledge, and certain behaviors in particular circumstances. The second meaning includes creative expressions, skills, and traditions. Examples of this are music, dance, literature, craft, arts, celebrations, botanical properties and medical applications, architectural forms, historic sites, and traditional technologies. Economic development depends on the country's willingness to open worldwide trade, modern technology, the people's education level, the country's recent history, and many more. These are all elements of culture, which determines what people value in life and how the qualities of their lives are improved. People with high GDP, which means high salary, want to buy happiness through the entertainment of rich culture, and one's life would be meaningless, if there isn't music, literature, and arts. Therefore culture has a great effect on economy.

Certain cultural beliefs could cause poverty. Superior thinking makes a culture group feel self-sufficient, therefore keeps it from international trading and learning new ideas from other countries. For example, the Chinese believed that their country is the only land in the universe back in the dynasties. This belief led them to think that they are the most nominating race and therefore they can totally support themselves, which eliminated the possibility of trading. Because of this belief, they denied the fact that there were other countries that they can benefit from. This also explained the contempt they had shown towards the Western countries during the 18th and 19th centuries. This was an obstacle for the country's economy. Since the Chinese kept to themselves, modern ideas reached there very slowly in comparison to other Asian countries such as Japan. Japan has retained its culture, while rapidly absorbing Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though they don't have as much history as China, the Japanese were able to learn and adapt to changes much more quickly. Japan has been allied with the US and many other powerful nations in the world, which improved its economy in many ways.

Population can also effect the economy. Major economic resources for countries with great populations are usually consisted of agriculture. Since there are so many mouths to feed and import food would cost too much, these countries need to grow their own food. A percent of the population has to be farmers and a portion of the land area has to be used to plant crops and for residential proposes. This means that the country wouldn't have as many people doing services and industrial work, which are more profitable. This also means less land to benefit the economy, such as industry sites and tourist attractions. China, for example, has a population of 1,273,111,290. Its economy is made up of 15% agriculture, which is nearly twice as much as what the US has, and seven times more than Japan. Huge population also cause environmental issues such as air and water pollution, which costs a great amount of money to improve.

Tourism is a great investment of economy in many countries. Every country has its unique presentations of culture. China's ancient history left great architectures; Japan is famous for its poetic landscape and calligraphy; Australia has attracted tourists around the world for its relaxing beech scenes; and the US has attracted people because of its best amusement parks and natural forests. During 2001, 61,927 people visited Australia; 420,714 visited the US; 81,467 people visited Japan. These all brought great amounts of income to the countries.

A country's technology development plays an important part on its economy. High technology is a symbol for modernization. In today's world, new electronic devices are invented everyday to improve people's way of life. TVs, phones, and radios make information travel around the world in no time; computers make our lives more organized and entertaining; and travelling by cars is an essential way of transportation in people's daily lives. Exporting high-tech devises boosts a country's economy rapidly. The service made up of an economy contains greatly companies involved in high technology business. The US has the largest and most powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $36,200, has 80% of its economy made up of services. Its technological strengths are at the forefront of computers, medical, aerospace, and military equipment. Japan has the second most powerful economy in the world, consist of 63% services. Its most potential aspect of modern technology is robotics constitutions, which is a key economic strength. Japan possesses 410,000 of the world's 720,000 robots. In less developed countries like Ethiopia, electricity itself is a major problem, let alone any high technology devises. The country has only 320,000 television sets in comparison to 219 million in the US; Ethiopia has 4,000 cellular phones while the US has 69.209 million. This technology disadvantage narrowed the country's economic opportunities, which might be one of the reasons for its low GDP per capita of $600.

Literacy rate is also a key factor to a country's economy development. Literacy rate measures how educated a group of people is. The more educated a race is in general, the more job opportunities would be provided to them and the varied the economic sources would be. The meant more chances in excel in a particular business and more ways of supporting the economy. The most powerful nations in the world all have a literacy rate of above 95%. The literacy rate in the US is 97% and it's 99% in Japan. Countries with a pretty steady economy like Singapore and China all have a literacy rate of above 90%.

History of monarchy and imperial ruling has an effect on the country's economy. Empire ruling and dictatorship put the whole country's fate in the hand of one. Besides this, the rulers were not elected by the citizens; instead, the throne was past down in the royal family. This culture tradition made the economy very unstable. The people could live under good rulers, but when the emperors were selfish and luxurious tyrant, the people would suffer greatly. China, for example, had dynasties for more than 4000 years since before 2000 BC. Most Western countries had Republic government while China and many other nations in Asia still had dictatorship. When the time came for change, all the people recoiled from the renovation. They were so used to years of dictatorship, and simply accepted the cruelty of it. British realized the chaos in China and sneaked drugs in during the early 19th century, making the people weak and benefited greatly. In the first half of the 20th century, civil unrest, military defeats, and foreign occupation beset China. This made it hard for the New Republic to establish. Another example is Ethiopia, which had monarchy until 1991. The modern constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. The fact that Ethiopia only began to have a modern government while other nations already are very accustomed to it made the country's economy at least fifty years behind.

Certain beliefs, population, literacy rate, tourism, high technology, and historical background are all factors to a country's economy. Therefore, culture influences economy in many ways.


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Singapore: The Queen of All Economies

By Cara M.

In Singapore there were many things that the people and the government have done that proves that Singapore has very little poverty. In Singapore they have a controlled democracy. This means that they aren't controlled by other people and they control their own democracy. Their government also provides homes for many of the people in Singapore. They became self governed in 1965. 86% of the people in Singapore has houses that are owned by the government. The other 17% own there own homes. The houses that the government provides are very small. They were nice on the outside but they have very little room in the houses. If the government didn't own 86% of the houses then Singapore would actually have poverty. Education is taken very seriously in Singapore. There are two universities. Everyone takes exams to test their intelligence. 60% of students go on to college after high school. Most of the young kids go to school and most of the adults have good jobs. There is only a 3% unemployment rate. Here in the US McDonalds is a fast food restaurant but in Singapore it was more of a hang out. Teenagers and adults go to McDonalds to do work and just have fun with their friends. They are also very big in technology. They have very good telecommunication systems. They also use computers for everything that they can. If you walked into McDonalds right away you would be able to tell that they use a lot of technology because many people working on laptops and using cell phones. At home they also used their cell phones instead of regular phone. The buildings also showed how much technology Singapore actually had. The buildings were mostly made up of steel. Singapore has the most technology in all of Asia. Also many other cities have so much poverty.

There are also many immigrants that come to Singapore. 17% of the immigrants come from China and they are Buddhists. 15% of the immigrants come from Melee and they are Muslims. The rest of the immigrants are Indians they are Hindu and there are other people who are Christians. In Singapore the GDP per capita is $21,000,991 for 2001. Singapore also traded with America and Asia. They are the 13th largest trading countries in the world. Because there are so many immigrants that could bring in many diseases so they have very good medical care with freedom of choice. They do this to make sure that no new diseases will get spread around Singapore.

Singapore also has very good transportation. They have the best airlines in all of Asia and their cars are very well made also. They also have buses and subways to go back and forth to many different areas. People use the buses and subways as everyday transportation so they make a lot of money off of it and then they can improve more things in Singapore.

Singapore is one of the most sophisticated cities in the world. They have the best technology and they are very advanced in their education. They have very little poverty and they are in good shape. They can depend on themselves to do whatever they need. Singapore is a wonderful city-state.


More on Singapore's economy

By Ashley M.

What words come to mind when Singapore is mentioned? Phrases like "good economy, small number of homeless people, and a nice place to live." Why does Singapore have so little poverty? The answer to this is in their exceptional economy.

Singapore became a self controlled democracy in 1965. They have come a very long way since then. The level of poverty on an income basis in Singapore is at the most 5% of the population. This is an extremely low amount. The amount of Poverty there is so low that it is rarely ever referred to in a number figure. Singapore had no significant amount of poor people from 1965 until the early 1980's. This was the first time that there was some poverty. Since then, the number has decreased. The per capita income on a yearly basis is 26,500 dollars. There are still some poor people in Singapore. The unemployment rate is 3%. This is about half of the unemployment rate in the United States.

The United States has influenced Singapore over the years. The exchange rate between the US and Singapore is 1 dollar to 1.85 dollars. This is a fairly similar figure. This means that since our economy is so excellent, theirs is not far behind. Singapore also freely trades with America. The US is the second largest trading partner of Singapore. Singapore is also a partner in the Asian Market. Mylasia is the largest trading partner of Singapore. Singapore is the 13th largest trading country while it is only one 15,000th the size of the United States. Singapore is a very big air traveling nation. Singapore also specializes in big businesses such as computers. Singapore is a very technologically advanced nation. They have many cell phones. They also have many exceptional telecommunications systems. Almost everyone there knows how to use computers.

The government helps to keep the economy in Singapore great because it provides social services to the citizens there. The government provides healthcare. They have medical care with freedom of choice.

The government also provides education for the youth. There are 2 universities in Singapore. 60% of graduating high school students go on to one of the colleges. At different times throughout their lives, everyone takes standardized tests to determine the average intelligence level of the nation.
The government also provides small housing for the families of Singapore. Something that is different about the districts, in which the citizens of Singapore live, is that they are diversely split among the populations of immigrants in Singapore. 17% of each district is Chinese. 15% are immigrants from Mylasia and the rest are of Indian origin. Having representatives from each nation in the districts helps everyone to want to make money. According to government officials, this is because rich families live next to poor families and so the poor families strive to become as rich as their neighbors are. This helps everyone to make money, which leads to a better economy.

Singapore does not have a supply of safe enough water to use from their country. This is why they purchase raw water from Malaysia. They then treat it in their water treatment plants. This affects their economy in that they must have a very advanced system of rationing how much water each family uses.

Singapore has a big advantage over other countries, such as the United States, because it is smaller in size, so the government can cater to some of the needs of each individual person. The population of Singapore is only about 3 million people. With a landmass of 250 square miles, this represents 12,000 people per square mile. As a comparison, New York City, one of the most densely populated cities in the US, has 7 million people or 149 persons per square mile. Another advantage that Singapore has over the US is that it has a shorter history. It can just look at the mistakes the US has faced and learn from them instead of going through the same ones.

According to Embassy officials, Singapore does not have any natural resources. This is one thing that other countries such as Mylasia have to help their economies. This means that the resources that they import have to be distributed. Another thing that gives Singapore a hard time keeping up a good economy is that because of it's small size, it must plan out all of the things it plans to do a head of time to provide enough space.
Singapore is a good example to other countries in South East Asia of how to have a good economy. This is because the other countries in Southeast Asia are not as advanced as Singapore. They do not have as good technology or governments that help the civilians like the government in Singapore does.

These are just a few of the reasons why Singapore has such a good way of life.


Asia Pacific Management News. "Singapore: the Quiet Achiever." May 10, 2002.

CIA World Factbook.

Hatcher-Frazier, Holly S. Personal interview conducted on May 2, 2002.

"National Population Estimates."

Singapore facts and pictures 2001.

"Singapore." Encarta. 2001 ed.

"Singapore: Socio-Economic Development."

"United States Population." Encarta. 2001 ed.

Poverty Issues in Italy

By Christina S.

For many years much has been done in the attempt to end world poverty. Still, poverty remains in many countries. Italy is no exception to this. To gain a better understanding of poverty in Italy, this essay will focus on the Italian poverty issues, specifically; why there is poverty in the first place, where it is most severe, and what is being done to improve it. Everyone knows that poverty exists, but few people understand why.
From 1999-2000, some 77,000 illegal immigrants arrived on Italian coasts. About 50,000 foreign women were forced to work as prostitutes and 1/3 of them were below the age of 18. Just like any other place, there is a limited amount of jobs. Without a job, there is no way of making money and without money, a person cannot obtain a residence or pay for food. The ball keeps rolling downhill when a person is unemployed. With so many illegal immigrants coming to Italy, many become disappointed to realize there is not as much employment opportunity as imagined.

As in other countries, there are areas where the poverty issue is more severe in Italy. The geographical distribution of poverty in Italy is very uneven. The poverty line is defined as a monthly combined income of slightly less than 1,500,000 lire (about $800) for two people. Being at risk is below or slightly above the poverty line. "Absolute poverty" is a combined income of about 1,000,000 lire ($500) per month. In the richer northern part of the country, 5.7% of families are poor. In the central region, that number increases to 7.5%. In the south, the figure climbs to a towering 23.2%. In the south, 65% of all families are considered at risk.

Many Italians left Italy to escape poverty. Starting in the 1870s, Italian birth rates rose and death rates fell. From 1880 to 1920, four million Italian immigrants went to America. By the start of World War I, Italy was losing over 500,000 people per year to emigration. Back then, the feudal system ruled the economic system. This system allowed inherited land possession to determine one's social status and political power. This meant many poor Italians had almost no opportunity to improve their lives. Landlords had control of the land and they charged high prices for rent, paid low wages and did not provide stable employment. Lots of agricultural food slowed causing malnutrition to spread throughout Italy. Poverty, overpopulation, and natural disaster all stimulated Italian emigration. As late as 1900, the illiteracy rate in southern Italy was 70%, ten times the rate in England, France, or Germany.

Italy is not sitting back and watching poverty take control of their country. There is much being done to help end it. In most countries, there is a Combat Poverty Agency, which helps fix the problems of poverty. Instead of Italy having this agency, they have the Commission on Poverty, funded by the Ministry of Social Solidarity. This ministry asks for proposals from voluntary organizations for projects against poverty. The projects will be targeted at people on low incomes, elderly people living alone, immigrants, lone parent families, travelers and ex-prisoners. For the homeless, which is mostly people with mental problems, young drop-outs, drug addicts, and people with AID health and social assistance, soup-kitchens are being built, and there is distribution of meals on the road

Italy is well off because they help other countries with poverty problems. Although Italy has poverty, they are also aware that they are not alone. They recognize that the rest of the world is poverty-stricken too. Italy is part of a group that focuses on helping to develop countries, economical management in different countries, and international trade. This group consists of the countries; Canada, France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan and Italy. It was called the G7 for awhile and recently became the G8 by adding Russia to the list of participating countries. In September of 2000, Italy also cancelled debts owed by many poor countries to help ease the poverty in those countries. These amounts owed to Italy totaled about 9-13 billion dollars. Sources from the Italian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt said that nearly 41 countries (primarily in Africa) will benefit from this law.

Poverty is a universal problem that can not be solved with the snap of the fingers. It takes hard work and determination. Italy has these qualities and has the ambition to make a dent in world-poverty. In addition to ending poverty in Italy, they are also assisting other countries in their dream to stop poverty from spreading. The best lesson is to learn from mistakes so that history does not repeat itself. The world needs to end poverty once and for all. With the help of everyone, everywhere this goal can be achieved.


Italy's Combat Poverty Agency

Conditions for workers deteriorate under the centre-left D'Alema government

Italian Immigration

Italy pushes e-government

Poverty in Italy

By Remy M.

Poverty in Italy is a very large issue. There are many different issues that have to be dealt with when taking on the task of examining poverty. Before one can begin to determine if a country's income is large or small a person has to decipher what poverty is. Another aspect that one has to look at is the economy. The economy plays a huge role in determining whether a country is poor, middle-class, or wealthy. Taking a look further, a key factor in examining a country's wealth is to examine their poverty level statistics in past years. If you compare those statistics to other countries, you can see whether or not their economy/poverty rate has increased or decreased. This makes it easier to determine if a country is just having a bad year or if they are in constant struggle. The focus point of this essay will be on the poverty that Italy is faced with and how all of the previous categories play a crucial role in this specific theme.

Poverty has four different definitions in the dictionary. It is first defined as "the state of being poor, lack of means of providing material needs or comforts (Poverty)". It is then defined as "deficiency in amount; scantiness (Poverty)". Thirdly it is defined as "Unproductiveness; infertility; the poverty of the soil (Poverty)". It is lastly defined as "Renunciation made by a member of a religious order of the right to own property (Poverty)". These terms help to depict a clear understanding of what poverty is. They help a person decide where to draw the line at poverty and also what it means to be poor. The reason something as simple as the definition of poverty is important for understanding such a vital subject is because for one to be able to look further into this specific subject one has to know what they are looking for.

To grasp the understanding of Italy's deficiency or even their prosperity it is necessary to look at their economy. Since WWI, Italy's economy has gone from an agricultural basis to an industrial one. Both of the other influential European countries, France and the UK, have had these same changes. Private companies mostly run the northern part of Italy and it is the more industrial section of Italy, while the southern part of the country is based more upon agriculture involving large public enterprises. These two differences, industrial and agriculture, create quite a variation in poverty levels in Italy. The gross domestic product (GDP) in Italy is made up of services that account for 48%, industry that accounts for 35%, agriculture that provides for a meager 4%, and public administration that provides for 13% of the income. These numbers alone show the difference in percent form of how the industrial North helps the economy much more than the agricultural South. 75% of the energy requirements and most of the raw materials that are needed by the industry-based area have to be imported, helping with both trade and global communication involving other nations. The economy had been growing at an annual rate of 3% from 1983 to 1990. However it than only grew 1% in 1991 until 1992, and kept declining in 1993 at only a 0.7% growth. It finally recovered, though, in 1994 to a 2% growth rate. These numbers show that the economy in Italy does not necessarily have the strongest stability and consequently it both falls and rises. It is a constant struggle and I think that it will continue to change over the years so that only a very long time will determine if the economy is affluent, deficient, or similar to what it is now.

In Italy the number of poor families has been increasing since the early 1990's. As noted above, the southern population of Italy is by far the poorer part of the country. People who are considered poor include those who live below the poverty line, meaning they have a per capita consumption that is less than half of the average national per capita. Usually people out of work, or those with minimal educational qualifications and single parents are looked upon as being at risk of poverty. However, a lot of the time poverty in Italy falls on older citizens and large families. There are conflicting facts regarding how many poor children live in Italy with some sources saying there are only 5.1% and others saying there are up to 20.5%. The reason for these conflicting numbers probably reflects different opinions on where to draw the line of poverty. All of these types of people have the most trouble with poverty in Italy and represent Italy's biggest components concerning poverty issues.

When comparing Italy to the poverty rate in most European countries it is at about the same rate, although compared to a few of the countries Italy is very high. In general, the amount of poverty in a lot of the European countries seems to be fairly high ranging, in a lot of the countries, two about 1/3 of the country. In 1998, information showed that 13% of Italy's population was considered poor, while about 8% seemed to be barely over the poverty line. Five percent of Italians lived in conditions of "absolute poverty," with a combined monthly income of about 1,000,000 lire (a little more than $500). In 1999, not including the factor of illegal immigration in either year, information showed that 5.7% of Italian families were poor in the north, in the central region there were about 7.5%, and the southern region had 23.3% of impoverished families. Sixty-five percent in the south were also considered to be at risk for poverty. Also, the unemployment rate was 19.4% and if everything went according to plan it will have only risen about .1% or .2% in the following year. Comparing this to France, Italy is doing rather badly. In 1999 and the first trimester of 2000 France's economy enjoyed both political and economical stability and also remained at a solid growth rate of about 3%. Job creation was high although the unemployment rate remained rather high at a 12% mark. The French government has been able to diminish its budget shortfall going only from 2.7% GDP in 1998 to 1.8% in 1999. France has seemed to continue to thrive, while Italy continues to decline when it comes to wealth, even though both of their unemployment rates are about the same. Even though France is doing much better than Italy in this area, other European nations like Russia are doing just the same if not worse. In Russia poverty rose from 11% to 43% in 1996 and it has continued to rise since than. This was a drastic change and one that is quite scary and it is very fortunate that Italy has not been faced with such a drastically bad change in the past years. The last country that this essay compares Italy with is Moldova. This is one of the poorest countries in Europe. The percentage of people living below the poverty line rose from 35% in May of 1997 to 46% in the fourth quarter of 1998. Both Russia and Italy were greatly affected by the 1998 Crisis, however Italy was not as affected by this as these other countries, which is why it is doing better than a lot of European countries but is still obviously in very bad condition and needs much more help in creating a prosperous country.

In conclusion, Italy has a very large struggle with the poverty levels it faces. The economy has played a huge role in it and hopefully if the economy is able to rise the number of people below the poverty level will decrease. However, the government will need a great system and plan to implement this. From what was I found in my research it does not seem likely that there will be a quick change for good in the economy. One day there could be a long-term change for the better, though. Obviously part of the country is much better off than other parts. If the country continues to increase and make money off of its industry; prosperity may spread and end up helping the entire country come out of the slump that it seems to be facing and, along with other European countries, become a wealthy nation.


Dallaire, Sébastien. From Kölin 1999 to Okinawa 2000 Country Report.

Deep pockets, persistent poverty.




Saccarelli, Emanuele. Conditions for workers deteriorate under the centre-left D'Alemagovernment.

The Progress of Nations 2000.

Poverty increase sharply in Transition economies.

Where Italy's Economy Is Taking A Big Hit.

Poverty in the United States

By Sarah C

The dictionary defines poverty as "the state of being poor; lack of providing material needs or comforts." Poverty is a major issue in the United States. In the United States, you are considered poor if your yearly income falls below the amount defined by the federal government as the official poverty line. Various organizations try to reduce the number of people in poverty.

A Census measures the number of the people and valuation of their estates for the purpose of imposing taxes. It is also an official registration of the number of people, the value of their estates, and their general statistics of the country. Every five years the government is required by law to take a census. Businesses use a census to make important decisions. The results of a census can affect transportation, health care, education, fire and police protection, political redistribution, housing, day care, farms, welfare, and many other programs that make our modern democracy thrive.

The census covers three major subject fields: government organization, public employment, and government finances. The organization phase of the census provides a universal list of government units, classified according to the type of government, for use in the employment and phases of the census. Federal and State agencies look to economic census data to gauge the effectiveness of programs such as minority contracting guidelines, trade policies, and job retraining.

Poverty measured before counting government benefits and taxes reflects the impression of changes in the economy on personal sources of income, especially earnings. Papers show that State and Federal anti-poverty programs have helped millions of children and take elderly people out of poverty. Many people that live below the poverty line are doing better than they would have been without government help. The government also uses a census to assign legislative seats, conclude transfer payments and carry out statues, the employment Equity Act, and the Indian Act. Census data shows that without government programs 57.6 million people would have been poor last year. The stronger the safety net is the more people it lifts out of poverty. About 2.8 billion people, almost half the world's population, live on less than $2 a day. Poverty has many harmful effects on its victims, including health problems, lack of education and no political representation. The poor include the uninsured elderly, migrant farm workers, families in Appalachian Hills, and residents of inner city slums. Some groups have a better chance of being poor than other groups. The rates of poverty have changed due to elements such as age, race, family status, and geographic location.

In the early 1940's, when labor was scarce, the United States established an emergency labor program known as the Bracero Program. Braceros were Mexican manual laborers allowed to enter the United States to replace American workers who joined the armed forces. In 1996, the Bureau of the Census reported more than 36 million residents living in poverty in the United States. They tried to get all the Mexican manual laborers out of the United States but didn't get them all.

There are other programs created to help decrease the amount of poverty in the United States. Connecting Libraries and Schools Program (CLASP) is a national organization concerned with law and policy affecting the poor. It seeks to improve the economic security of families with children that don't have enough money.

Poverty is generally defined in terms of the income needed to meet basic needs for food, housing, clothing and transportation. Safety net programs lifted 27 million people out of poverty last year, cutting the population affected by poverty by around 50 percent. There are many of people in poverty but the United States government is trying very hard to decrease the level of poverty.


Official government poverty line shows signs of old age

Attacking Poverty

Federal, State, and Local Governments

Gauge the competition


More on poverty in the U.S.

By Rachel E.

Poverty has always been an issue in the United States. The government has been trying to lower poverty rates. Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal established Social Security in 1935. The Johnson administration established Medicare, Medicaid, public housing, and other now-common government programs in the 1960s. In 1996, Clinton signed a welfare reform law that dramatically changed the nation's welfare system into one where you must work a certain number of hours to receive welfare, similar to the Bush administration, which has made a proposal for strict new work requirements for people on welfare. All of these things were designed to help lower national poverty rates, but has it truly helped?

One of the more important government programs established is Social Security. Social Security benefit is a percentage of your earnings averaged over most of your working lifetime. Many Americans use Social Security. It is helpful because when you retire, it provides a small income every month. Those who have low income receive higher rates of return then those who are in the upper class. Your Social Security taxes are used for retirement, disability, family benefits, survivors, and Medicare. Medicare, another government program, is hospital insurance and medical insurance. The hospital insurance pays for inpatient hospital care, and skilled nursing care. Medical insurance helps pay for doctors' fees, outpatient hospital visits, and supplies. The second largest program, after Medicaid, is Earned Income Tax Credit. It is a refundable tax credit for low-income working families. There also are several policies created by the government to help the poverty rate lower. There are education policies, minimum wage, and unemployment insurance.

Despite programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Earned Income Tax Credit, the United States still has high poverty rates. In 1998 the official rate of poverty was 12.7%, out of 278,058,881 Americans, which would make about 35,313,477 Americans living below the poverty line. The poverty rate has usually has not changed much over the years, although the U.S. has the highest GDP rate (the GDP rate was $36,200 in 2000 according to the CIA World Fact Book). In the early 1990s the number of Americans below the poverty line was 15.1%. The lowest poverty rate was in the early 1970s, when the poverty rate was 11.1%. The poverty rate in 1998 is only 1.6% higher than it was in the 1970s, and has dropped from the 1990s by 2.4%.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, some of the important reasons why we have poverty are that "inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical costs of an aging population, sizable trade deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups." But how can we solve this? Our government has already created many programs and there are many private organizations that have been organized to help lower the poverty rates. One of the biggest problems the US has is size. For example, in Singapore, there is no poverty rate. According to government officials, this is because education is enforced and the government tries to create equality, (i.e. no matter what your economic status is, the majority of the population lives in apartments owned by the government). Singapore is only 647.5 sq. km and became an independent nation in the 1960s. The government is able to supervise everything closely and they are a newer nation. On the other hand, the US is 9,269,091 sq. km and became independent from Great Britain in 1776. Because of the large size, it is hard to supervise everything. We have tried to create a similar housing policy and give homes to everyone, but turned into an unfinished government housing project, hence the name "the Projects." The Projects were originally supposed to be for people living on welfare and low class that needed somewhere to live, but somehow the construction was not completely finished. Now, the Projects are known as places filled with crime. There are Projects in most major cities. As for education, our government offers public education, but many people do not take advantage of this, and without a proper education, it is hard to find a job and easier to fall into poverty.

Taking this all into account, poverty in the US might never end, considering the size of the U.S. Perhaps we will find hope in the future, but until then, we will have to keep on taking it one step at a time and slowly lower the poverty rates.


CIA World Fact Book

Coalition on Human Needs: States Worry About Bush Welfare Rules

Coalition on Human Needs: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Coalition on Human Needs: Education and Training

Coalition on Human Needs: Minimum Wage

Coalition on Human Needs: Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Great Debates: Did the United States lose the war on poverty?

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Social Security Administration: A "Snapshot"

Social Welfare

Poverty in Nigeria

By Katie L

Unlike many other countries, Nigeria is lucky enough to have
oil around the region it is not helping the constant lack of need.
Nigeria's oil accounts for 85% of the country's foreign exchange earnings.
Oil accounts for 46% of Nigeria's gross domestic product. Nigeria is
extremely dependent on its oil supply. Though having oil seems to help
other countries, due to oil dependent problems Nigeria ranks among the 20
poorest countries. Nigeria oil dependence has been a problem because the
oil does not supply them in the manner they would like. Nigeria is in
poverty for other reasons as well such as economic mismanagement, this is
because the economy is failing to succeed. Another reason for poverty is
corruption. Due to past problems Nigeria is still in debt. Corruption
falls into place with being a problem due to dishonesty. This is because
people are not honest about money situations. To solve these corruption
issues Nigerians believe they need to more careful about the way the handle
their money and if any money is lost, it needs to be recovered. Because of
the economy downfall in Nigeria the president of Nigeria, Obasanjo and his
administration classify the corruption issue as well as the mismanagement as
problems that need to be taken care of to bring up the economy. The poverty
that Nigeria faces has created the need to make polices generate in order to
help the economy growth.

The North-Central zone has no major industries; this is a reason why it is
known to be one of the poorest areas. Once though, there was a textile
industry that employed semi-skilled workers, these industries do not produce
any longer. Niger had had hopes to bring the industries back up again,
though unfortunately this plan did not work out. Nigeria has a reputation
for being in need; this is the main reason why industry does not work well
for Nigeria

Nigeria is lucky enough to have agricultural and mineral resources here. These
resources that Nigeria has are not found anywhere else in the country.
Government is hugely to blame for the poverty in Nigeria. There is a rich
section in Nigeria, here located are the politicians. The poorer people are
described as "easy targets for the rich". The rich people are known to
mistreat the poorer people. An exception to this is the rich military
leaders they defend the poor. These rich military leaders have tons of
money, though they do not use it to bring the economy up! It is said that
some of the military leaders by giving money could change the fate. The
constant need for money is blamed on the leaders of Nigeria, also known as
the politicians, and government of Nigeria. The politicians are the
dominant ones; they enslave the other groups. This is one of the biggest
problems! This is a problem because this causes lots of struggles within
the overthrown group. The government over all is not a very good dominant
group, this is true in many ways. They have poor management, they are not
able to control the oil loss, and Nigeria is facing world high prices over
4% in 2001-2002.

One way of describing the poverty in Nigeria as being a problem due to the
government would be 'The Politics of Personal Rule'. This is when the
people of Nigeria who have more power then others are known as the more
dominant people. And those who are not as powerful are not taken in to
hand. These Nigerians who are not as powerful are not treated in the same
manner. Another example of describing the poverty in Nigeria being a
problem due to the government would be when the government claims to know
what poverty is. They act as though they can feel how it is to be poor and
know the issues those people have to deal with. The government thinks that
since they can assume they are correct about their assumptions of the poor,
they can then deal with the issues of poverty based on their ideas. The
citizens need to clarify their needs so that the government can be aware of
the true issues that need to be dealt with. The main idea of these problems
that the government faces is that they need to realize that when a program
is failing, to succeed it needs to be study thoroughly so that it can be
redone, correctly! The government never studied a failing program, in
result they never knew what was wrong with their ideas, so they could never
rebuild their economy.


- Alleviating Poverty in Nigeria

- Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria

- Nigeria World Fact Book

- The Embassy of the United States of America in Nigeria

- The World Bank Group


Poverty in Nigeria Related to Culture and Geography

By Whitney T.

The poverty problems in Nigeria have deep roots. There are two reasons why poverty in Nigeria is so hard to fix and why this is so much of it. One of the reasons is because of the oil crash in the eighty's and the other reason is because two decades ago there were not household surveys. When poverty started they weren't able to tell how much poverty there was. House surveys can help determine how much poverty there is in a country. Without the surveys, poverty kept progressing. Poverty in Nigeria wasn't really dealt with until pretty recently since Nigeria is now faced with economic and social problems. The culture and geography relates to the poverty in Nigeria.

Many communities and people within the communities in Nigeria are poor. In 1990 the population was around 110 million and the population has grown. Now about 45% of the Population is below the poverty line. In 1980, the GDP rate was1,000 American dollars and then went down to 250 American dollars in 1990. One of the reasons why Nigeria has so many poor communities is because people who are poor live with people who are poor and people who are better off live with people who are better off. Today surveys are being done and they have found that in the North agroclimatic zone, 70% of the poor people there live in the 36% of the communities that are "classified" as poor. In the central region 61% of the poor people live in the 21% of the communities there that are "classified" as poor. In the South 38% of the poor people live in the 9% of the poor regions. If poor people and non-poor people lived in the same community, it would balance out and the community as a whole would be better off.

Nigerian leaders are now trying to pay attention to education and make it better because if people are educated then the political and economic development of a nation is more likely to progress. The government wants students to have good "academic training" and a good place to learn. The government wants to treat education as a "public-health issue". By treating education this way, people will understand how important education is, less people will be unemployed, there will be less armed bandits, and Nigeria will catch up to other countries economically, socially, and politically. In 1992 the unemployment rate was estimated to be 28%, which is a high percentage. It is also proven that people who are uneducated develop bad habits like smoking, drinking, and having more kids than they can support. Many people have eight or nine kids, which explains why Nigeria has one of the biggest populations in Africa and is one of the fastest growing populations in the world. When this happens, the kids start to suffer because they eat and drink whatever is offered to them. They don't think about their own health so education actually is a health issue.
When the government starts to stress how important education is and actually follow through and give people a better education, Nigeria will be able to continue to progress. Education will allow them to have clean, portable water, food, good roads, good living spaces, clean streets, and there will be organizations that help the disabled, the old, and the unemployed. At the moment the streets are filled with garbage and there is so much congestion on the roads. People need to be educated about technology as well as being able to read and write. With technology, Nigeria will be able to compete in the economy.

Nigeria is the sixth largest exporter of oil in the world. 90% of Nigeria's exports are oil and petroleum. Although this is good for the economy it is adding to pollution because oil corporations are being greedy and the people aren't getting any of the money from the oil trade. People can't afford the oil so they are vandalizing the gasoline pipelines and oil pipelines. People are stealing and the gas that spills out of the pipelines is polluting the air, but it is also killing the villagers that have to clean up the gas because it has refined petroleum in it. The government thinks that the people are being ignorant and they want to educate them about why the oil pipeline needs to be protected, but people are not vandalizing because they want to, they are doing it because they need to survive. There are many strikes and people who are angry because salaries are not being given to them. Many people are struggling to make a living. There is also very high inflation in Nigeria. The inflation rate was about 6.5% in the year 2000. Without being paid and having to pay more money because of inflation, there is no way people can pay for gas and all other necessities.
Nigeria many useful resources. Some of Nigeria's natural resources are barite, coal, columbite, crude petroleum oil, fluorite, gold, iron, kyanite, lead, limestone, manganese, marble, natural gas, phosphate, salt, tantalite, uranium, tin, arable land, and zinc. Nigeria also has plenty of trade going on. Nigeria imports from Britain the most but also from the United States, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Brazil. Nigeria exports petroleum, oil, cocoa beans, rubber, palm kernels, cotton, yam, hides, palm oil, peanuts, wood, textiles, cement, ceramics, steel, fertilizer, chemicals, and skins to the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Spain, and India. Nigeria seems to have a lot of trade and resources so it seems like as a country, it should be well off. The problem is that a lot of money that should be going to education, infrastructure, health, food, and other things is going into the pockets of politicians who are elected by the people to protect the people. If the wealth was distributed fairly in Nigeria, it would have the potential to be a very rich, productive country.

Nigeria's culture has a lot of tradition, music, dancing, and performing in it. Religion and ethnicity has a big part in this. There are over 250 ethnic groups found in Nigeria. 80% of the population is the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, Ibo, Kanuri, Tiv, Edo, Nupe, Ibibio, and Ijaw. In the North, Yoruba, Ibo, and Hausa-Fulani are the main ethnic groups. Each ethnic group has its own language and English is the official language in Nigeria. Muslims make up about 50% of the population and Christians make up about 35% while the rest of the people have "traditional beliefs". Muslims mostly live in the North and almost only Christians live in the South. There have been a lot of antagonistic religious or ethnic outbreaks in Nigeria. When there is a lot of prejudice in an area it is very hard to keep everything under control. Since there was so much discord, the institution of Islamic law was put in the Northern states of Nigeria.

Nigeria is between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer. It is very hot there and there are two seasons throughout the year. The first season is the rainy season, which is usually from May to September in the North and March to November in the south. During the rainy season it rains a lot. The other season is the dry season. The dry season happens when it is no longer the rainy season. It hardly rains during the dry season, making the weather very dry, hence the name. In the South there is also the Harmattan season which goes from December to January. The Harmattan season is when it gets cold and dry and people might even need sweaters.

Nigeria has a lot of rivers. Its main river is the Niger but other rivers include Anambra, Cross River, Gongola, Hadejia, Ka, Kaduna, Katsin-Ala, Kamadugu, Ogun, Osun, Owena, Osse, Sokoto, Yedseram, Yobe, and Zamfara. Even with all of these rivers, Nigeria has a problem with water because of the periodic droughts. Droughts have affected Nigeria for a long time. In the early 1970's the was a long drought in the Sahel region. It forced people to move to "less arid areas" and into the Southern regions. These droughts are very bad for Nigeria's economy and agriculture. Without water it's very hard to produce enough food to feed the whole country. Nigeria used to be a very big exporter of food but now needs to import food. This is also hard for farmers and many of the people in Nigeria, for 70% of the population has a job related to agriculture.
The need for water makes it very expensive. Water is also a key in Nigeria's poverty since almost half of the people in Africa suffer from diseases related to water. More that 300 million people in Africa don't have clean, safe water. Not only is the water a problem for health but it's bad for aquatic animals. There are more than 50 water basins in Africa and there are also underground aquifers but even these water resources don't fix the water problems. There are conflicts between countries because of the division of the water.

There are many international agreements that also apply to Nigeria such as: Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, and Endangered Species. Nigeria also has geographical problems with soil degradation, deforestation, and desertification. Nigeria has tropical rain forests that are being cut down. This could and does disturb some of the international agreements. The wood is used for cooking, fuel, and heat and in low-income areas, the use of wood is ten times what it is in other places that use electricity or "commercial energy". Although the wood is used for trade, which is good, cutting down the trees disturbs the ozone, degrades the soil, and is bad for vegetation, animals, and other things. If the trees continue to be cut down a lot of the nutrients in the soil will be gone and there is already "secondary regrowth vegetation".

Nigeria has many resources, diversity, and traditions. It has great potential, but until its poverty issues on things like health, education, water, ethnic differences, and the division of wealth between the state and the government are settled, Nigeria isn't going to progress as much as it could. Since Nigeria has a lot of poverty with deep roots, it is not that simple to fix all of those problems. Nigeria is taking it one step at a time and house surveys was a good way to start.



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"Geography." <

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"Nigeria: Targeting Communities for Effective Poverty Alleviation."

"Site Contents." <

"Traumatic Cost of Poverty"