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Social Conditions

Absolute Poverty vs Relative Poverty

Absolute poverty is a social condition in which an individual, family or household don't have enough income or wealth to purchase the basics of life in areas such as food, clothing and housing. Relative poverty is a social condition is which an individual or household have significantly less income and wealth than average in the place that they live.

Absolute Poverty

Absolute poverty is a dire situation whereby an individual or family requires help to survive. In this situation, people aren't able to afford what they need in the following areas.
Energy (e.g. heat)
Food / Nutritious Food
Medicine / Medical Care
Transportation (e.g. can't get to school or to medical care etc..)
Water / Clean Drinking Water

Relative Poverty

Relative poverty is a social condition whereby an individual or family have significantly less income and wealth than average for the place where they live. This can have a broad range of negative impacts as follows.
A lack of financial security.
Access to education.
Access to sufficient housing.
Discrimination based on poverty such as a child who is bullied due to the clothes they wear.
Environmental injustice such as having to live in areas with poor air quality or water quality.
Higher risks such as health and safety risks due to living conditions.
Inability to cover unexpected or irregular expenses.
Lack of disposable income/ Inability to invest in your future using disposable income.
Low quality of life.
Problems of poverty such as inability to pay fines leading to significant consequences such as imprisonment.
Problems of the working poor such as working a large number of hours such that you have no time to do things you need to do.
Unable to save.


It is more accurate to measure relative poverty using median income as this tends to be more meaningful than an average that can be thrown off by the wealth of a single individual.
If you live in a place where people have relatively high incomes, the cost of living is likely to be high. For this reason, an income that would not be considered poverty in one place can be considered poverty in another.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about sociology.
Absolute Poverty
Civil Society
Conflict Theory
Critical Theory
Global Perspective
Human Behavior
Industrial Complex
Middle Class
Modern Life
Power Imbalance
Quality Of Life
Relative Poverty
Rent Seeking
Social Awareness
Social Change
Social Character
Social Conflict
Social Forces
Social Groups
Social Institutions
Social Interests
Social Mobility
Social Order
Social Power
Social Stability
Social Values
Social Variables
Super Culture
Upper Class
Working Class
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