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. By this definition, poverty is the condition where a person lacking financial resources is unable to meet a minimum standard of living.
However, the World Bank has gone beyond the amount of money a person or family earns to define poverty. The World Bank expanded upon its traditional definition of poverty to define poverty holistically.
"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.
How does the Bible define poverty?
How does the conventional view and definition of poverty align with how the Bible defines poverty and describes the poor?
The term "poor" in Scripture also primarily refers to an economic condition. There are 178 uses of the word "poor" in Scripture, and with a few exceptions, the term "poor" in Scripture means economic or material poverty. However, the condition of poverty is also associated with oppression, isolation and injustice.