What is the definition of poverty?
The most widely held and understood definition of absolute poverty measures poverty strictly in economic terms — earning less than $1.90 a day. But the World Bank goes beyond the amount of money a person or family earns to expand the definition of poverty.
"Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom."
This poverty definition encompasses living conditions, an inability to meet basic needs because food, clean drinking water, proper sanitation, education, health care and other social services are inaccessible.
This poverty threshold starts with fear for the future and broadens to include dependence, oppression and even exploitation.
Because this larger measure of poverty expands the contributors and causes of poverty, the World Bank developed indicators to assess the non-income dimensions of poverty as well. The indicators include education, health, access to social services, vulnerability, social exclusion, and access to social capital.