- Compassion International Blog - http://blog.compassion.com -

What is the Definition of Poverty?

define poverty How do you understand and define poverty? Tell us.

Then over the next several weeks we’ll publish a series of posts to help clearly establish what our definition and understanding of the problem is and explain to you the basis of our holistic approach to ministry.

You might expect that such a fundamental and heavily studied concept as poverty would have a universal definition; however, such is not the case.

Common definitions, such as those from Merriam-Webste’s Online Dictionary, define poverty as “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.”

Professional and academic descriptions of poverty often include non-income aspects such as health, security/vulnerability, self-respect/identity, justice, access to services, political voice, freedom, social connectedness and so on.

Unfortunately, the absence of a clear definition is a serious problem for organizations whose missions are to eradicate poverty or, in Compassion’s case, to release children from poverty.

– Scott Todd, Senior Ministry Advisor, Compassion International