The Definitions of Poverty


Perceived causes of poverty are affected by one’s status and location. In Madagascar for example, farmers linked poverty to drought; the poor in the city to rising prices and fewer employment opportunities; the rich to “deterioration in domestic and international terms of trade, neglect of Malagasay traditions and norms, lack of motivation among certain classes and groups of people, price liberalization and devaluation, lack of education and absence of governance (Madagascar, 1996).

Poverty never results from the lack one thing but from many interlocking factors that cluster in poor people’s experiences and definitions of poverty. In Philippines, in the Mindanao region, women said “we boil bananas for our children if food is not available. In some cases, when the Department of Agriculture distributes corn seeds, we cook these seeds instead of planting them. Ironically, they borrow money to acquire these seeds. The cycle of poverty continues as they are unable to pay for these loans” (Philippines 1999).

Source InstitutionWorld Bank
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Page Count39
Place of PublicationPasig City
Original Publication Date