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Poverty around the World Essay

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Updated: May 20th, 2021


Every society and country across the world has a number of people who lack food, shelter, and water. Although most of these people work hard in an attempt to put food on the table, it is undeniable that they encounter numerous obstacles in their respective societies. They find it hard to achieve their goals due to the existing social and economic structures. Inequality in the world is therefore used to explain why many people encounter a wide range of challenges and obstacles. The term “poverty” refers to the scarcity of money, material possessions, and basic needs. The issue has been analyzed using economic, social, and political concepts. Poverty can either be extreme (also referred to as absolute) or medium (also called relative) depending on the issues faced by the targeted individuals. Extreme poverty usually occurs when an individual is unable to meet his or her basic demands such as shelter, food, and clothing. On the other hand, relative poverty is experienced when an individual cannot enjoy “a specific level of a living standard as compared to the other citizens in the same country” (Symaco, 2014, p. 64). In order to understand the nature of poverty across the world, this presentation uses the cases of Australia and Somalia.

Poverty in Australia and Somalia

Australia is ranked as one of the richest nations in the world. However, studies and statistics have indicated clearly that poverty is still a major challenge in this nation. The outstanding fact is that the kind of poverty experienced in this country does not manifest itself in the form of starvation, premature death, or famine. A report released by the Australian Council of Social Service in the year 2012 indicated that around 2.2 million people (or 12.5 percent of the total population) were living below the poverty line (Phillips, Miranti, Vidyattama, & Cassells, 2013). Homelessness is a major sign of poverty in Australia. Most of the poor people in this nation still have jobs. Most of the people who are believed to be poor in the country live below 59 percent of the average income (Phillips et al., 2013). Several factors have been observed to contribute to the kind of poverty experienced in this country. For instance, the level of wages in this country has been stagnating within the past three decades.

The issue of long-term unemployment has become a major concern that affects the welfare of more people in society. Individuals who earn low wages or incomes will be forced to struggle with a number of issues in Australia. For example, some of the affected people will find it hard to get new jobs or access quality health services. Consequently, the individuals will be unable to lead quality lives and realize their goals in life. Since poverty is a critical concern in many developed countries, it becomes quite clear that the government’s inability to distribute resources and opportunities is something that should be addressed in a proper manner (McDonald, 2012). Wealth inequality has led to numerous problems such as violence, increased costs of living, and lack of opportunities in the country. Consequently, the affected individuals will acquire some of the basic needs such as food, shelter, and education. However, they will be unable to lead quality lifestyles.

In Somalia, poverty appears to have a totally different meaning. Before analyzing the nature of poverty in Somalia, it is important to observe that violence, famine, and political conflicts have been experienced in this nation for several decades. Most people rely on foreign aid in order to acquire basic needs such as food, water, clothing, and shelter. Somalia, according to many analysts, is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country’s government has been unstable for many years. This situation has made it impossible for more people to get food and clean water.

Over 73 percent of the population lack basic commodities and materials (Jeffer & Hotez, 2016). Many children and elderly persons die prematurely due to a lack of basic needs. Famine and droughts have characterized this nation for very many years. Most of the citizens living in the country encounter a wide range of challenges associated with poverty, such as hunger, disease, and lack of sustainable health services (Jeffer & Hotez, 2016). The lack of adequate resources to deal with the increasing level of poverty is the reason why more people die annually due to various diseases such as malaria and malnutrition. Terrorism has remained a major challenge due to the threat of Al-Shabaab (Hansen, 2013). The emergence of terrorist groups and organizations is attributable to the extreme poverty experienced in this country. These problems explain why the country’s life expectancy is below 55 years.

The kind of poverty experienced in Australia can therefore be termed as medium or relative. This happens to be the case because most of the people living below the poverty line have access to a number of basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. However, they find it hard to lead better lifestyles or realize their potential due to a lack of secondary needs such as quality healthcare. The existing systems have been blamed for failing to promote the best processes and opportunities that can make it easier for more people to succeed. The level of homelessness is also rising steadily in Australia (McDonald, 2012). The percentage of persons who lack some of the basic needs is quite small in Australia. On the other hand, the kind of poverty experienced in poor (or underdeveloped) nations is extreme in nature. In Somalia, poverty is an epidemic that calls for immediate solutions and strategies. Many citizens in the country continue to lose their lives annually due to the issues existing in the country. The problem of poverty is worsened by numerous issues such as droughts, famines, terrorism groups, and poor government systems. These factors have created the best environment whereby poverty continues to thrive. Poverty in this country has affected all age groups equally, including small children and the elderly members of society. The economic and political instability experienced in this country will make it impossible for more people to realize their potential and lead quality lives.


This analysis shows conclusively that poverty is a common problem in each and every nation. However, the nature of poverty experienced in developed and poor nations will differ significantly. Using the case of Australia, it is agreeable that some citizens in the country do not have access to basic needs and opportunities. It would therefore be necessary for the government to implement powerful policies and systems to overturn the situation. In Somalia, the kind of poverty affecting the citizens might get out of hand unless powerful measures are implemented (Hansen, 2013). The global community should present the best support systems and resources in order to transform the situation and safeguard the lives of many citizens living in extreme poverty.


Hansen, S. (2013). Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The history and ideology of a militant Islamic group, 2005-2012. New York, NY: Hurst & Company.

Jeffer, A., & Hotez, P. (2016). Somalia: A nation at the crossroads of extreme poverty, conflict, and neglected tropical diseases. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 1(1), 1-6. Web.

McDonald, C. (2012). Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, 23(1), 1-13. Web.

Phillips, B., Miranti, R., Vidyattama, Y., & Cassells, R. (2013). Poverty, social exclusion and disadvantage in Australia. Web.

Symaco, L. (2014). Education, poverty, malnutrition and famine. New York, NY: A&C Black.

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