Famous Quotes About Poverty

These quotes about poverty from presidents, philosophers, diplomats, authors, religious and others can help start a conversation about poverty and possibly lead to action on behalf of the poor.

The quotes inspire, convict, challenge and illustrate the broad spectrum of thoughts about poverty. Regardless of what people say, remember that the poor are particularly close to God's heart.

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. — Proverbs 14:31, NIV

“Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.”   — Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations

“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.”   — Aristotle, Greek philosopher

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”   — Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader

“Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit.”   — Eli Khamarov, writer

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”   — Confucius, Chinese teacher and philosopher

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”   — Plutarch, Greek historian

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is enough.”   — Dr. Wess Stafford, President Emeritus of Compassion International

“My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. ”   — Bryan Stevenson, social justice activist

“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”   — Coco Chanel, French fashion designer

“To me, a faith in Jesus Christ that is not aligned with the poor...it's nothing.”   — Bono, singer-songwriter and philanthropist

“To live with Jesus is to live with the poor. To live with the poor is to live with Jesus.”   — Jean Vanier, philosopher and theologian

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”   — Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun

“The Bible insists that the best test of a nation's righteousness is how it treats the poorest and most vulnerable in its midst.”   — Jim Wallis, Christian writer and social activist

“Americans are blessed with great plenty; we are a generous people and we have a moral obligation to assist those who are suffering from poverty, disease, war and famine.”   — Adam Schiff, U.S. representative

“History is written by the rich, and so the poor get blamed for everything.”   — Jeffrey D. Sachs, economist

Young man embracing a young boy smiling
Young girl standing in front of painted rainbow on wall

“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth…these are one and the same fight.”   — Ban Ki-moon, Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations

“I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.”   — Bill Gates, business magnate and philanthropist

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”   — Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”   — Edmund Burke, author and philosopher

“There's more to doing good than hating evil.”   — Anonymous

“Failures are divided into two classes — those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.”   — John Charles Salak, author

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”   — Martin Luther King, Jr., Baptist minister and civil rights activist

“Nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours.”   — C.S. Lewis, author and Christian apologist

“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”   — Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun

“There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”   — Frank Buchman, Protestant evangelist

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Women walking carrying supplies
Two girls standing in a doorway

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”   — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”   — Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa

“There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”   — Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”   — John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

“Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.”   — Muhammad Ali, professional boxer

“Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.”   — Grace Abbott, social worker

“Where you live should not determine whether you live, or whether you die.”   — Bono, singer-songwriter and philanthropist

“Poverty does not belong in civilized human society. Its proper place is in a museum.”   — Muhammad Yunus, entrepreneur

“It is a common condition of being poor...you are always afraid that the good things in your life are temporary, that someone can take them away, because you have no power beyond your own brute strength to stop them.”   — Rick Bragg, journalist

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”   — Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa

“Poverty of goods is easily cured; poverty of the mind is irreparable.”   — Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher

“Poverty is a very complicated issue, but feeding a child isn't.”   — Jeff Bridges, actor

“You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money.”   — P.J. O'Rourke, political satirist

“It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them.”   — William E. Vaughn, columnist

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Famous Quotes About the Poor and Poverty

These famous quotes about poverty can help you in your advocacy efforts on behalf of the poor. They are a good way to spark interest in someone who might not typically be interested in the issue of global poverty, but has an interest in the person you are quoting.

Include these famous quotes about poverty in a talk at your church or small group, make them your Facebook status or even include one as your email tag.