What is poverty?
Absolute poverty is based on subsistence, a minimum standard needed to live. Seebohm Rowntree's research identified a 'poverty line' on the basis of minimum needs. The Copenhagen Declaration defines absolute poverty as "a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to social services."
Relative poverty is based on a comparison of poor people with others in society. Peter Townsend defines poverty as "the absence or inadequacy of those diets, amenities, standards, services and activities which are common or customary in society."
(mother with child during the famine in Ethiopia this past June)
Here are some more statistics to give you some perspective:
Population: 82 million
Life expectancy at birth: 52 years
Maternal Mortality ratio (per 100,000 births): 720
Population Access to water source: 42%
Population Access to saniation facilities: 11%
% of Population Aged 0-14 years: 44%
Gross National Income per capita: $630
Population: 33 million
Life expectancy at birth: 80 years
Maternal Mortality ratio (per 100,000 births): 7
Population Access to water source: 100%
Population Access to saniation facilities: 100%
% of Population Aged 0-14 years: 18%
Gross National Income per capita: $36,280
"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3-4