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Our Nation And Poverty

            Poverty levels in the last decade has been said to be rising sharply. It has become quite a controversial subject amongst politicians and social scientists alike. Poverty and the poor are quite controversial terms that are frequently used but are shaped by our beliefs and current opinion about the whys and wherefores of poverty. The effects of high unemployment, low pay and changes in the health and social system have forced the issue of poverty into the forefront of political agendas and media attention. Poverty and health are definitely linked and not only are the poor more likely to suffer from ill health and premature death, but poor health and disability are themselves recognised as causes of poverty. (Blackburn1991). .
             Theorists and social scientists have looked at all aspects of poverty and their research has proven that poor health is related to social class and obvious ill health inequalities are found between the different classes, with the poor suffering most. Firstly we need to understand poverty. One of the first people who tried to establish a standard for measuring poverty was Charles Booth, who looked at basic requirements needed to maintain a physically healthy existence, which is sufficient food and shelter to make possible the physically efficient functioning of the body. (Giddens1989). There are two ways in which poverty is still defined; absolute and relative poverty, these are based on different ways of seeing peoples need. Absolute poverty refers to those without the basic necessities to sustain human life. These people don't have their basic needs met in relation to food, warmth, water and shelter. Families are in poverty when their incomes are insufficient to obtain the minimum necessity for the maintenance of physical efficiency's (Rowntree1941 in Blackburn 1991). Relative poverty uses the standard of living enjoyed by or taken for granted by most people as the base line from which poverty can be measured.

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