Poverty is general scarcity, dearth, or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. It is a multifaceted concept, which includes social, economic, and political elements. Poverty may be defined as either absolute or relative. Absolute poverty or destitutionrefers to the lack of means necessary to meet basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.Relative poverty takes into consideration individual social and economic status compared to the rest of society.
After the industrial revolution, mass production in factories made production goods increasingly less expensive and more accessible. Of more importance is the modernization of agriculture, such as fertilizers, to provide enough yield to feed the population. Responding to basic needs can be restricted by constraints on government's ability to deliver services, such as corruption, tax avoidance, debt and loan conditionalities and by the brain drain of health care and educational professionals. Strategies of increasing income to make basic needs more affordable typically include welfare, economic freedoms and providing financial services.
Poverty reduction is a major goal and issue for many international organizations such as theUnited Nations and the World Bank. The World Bank forecasts that 702.1 million people were living in extreme poverty in 2015, down from 1.75 billion in 1990. Of these, about 347.1 million people lived in Sub-Saharan Africa (35.2% of the population) and 231.3 million lived inSouth Asia (13.5% of the population). Between 1990 and 2015, the percentage of the world's population living in extreme poverty fell from 37.1% to 9.6%, falling below 10% for the first time.Nevertheless, given the current economic model, built on GDP, it would take 100 years to bring the world's poorest up to the previous poverty line of $1.25 a day.Extreme poverty is a global challenge; it is observed in all parts of the world, including developed economies.UNICEF estimates half the world's children (or 1.1 billion) live in poverty.It has been argued by some academics that the neoliberal policies promoted by global financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank are actually exacerbating both inequality and poverty.