Socials 11: Defining Poverty

  1. In your own words, explain the problems with measuring poverty (standard of living, absolute vs relative, HDI)
  • There are many problems when trying to define poverty. Many countries live in different situations, for example a less developed country may seem poor to a more developed country. This is called standard of living. Some countries like Canada have a higher standard of living than others. When comparing absolute poverty vs. relative poverty on one country compared to another it can be different. The needs of a person in a developed country is higher for example the low standard of living for a higher developed country could very well be the higher standard of living for a less developed country. Absolute poverty is when you do not have enough support or money to afford the essentials in life, and relative poverty is being able to afford your basic needs. Canada’s absolute poverty could be another countries relative poverty. This is why it is difficult to determine if a country is poor while being compared to another country.
  1. What do you think is the best way to measure poverty in Canada and the world.
  • I think the best way to measure poverty in Canada and the world is to use the Human Development Index. I think gathering number relative to that countries standard of living adding it together and then comparing it might help even out and help determine if a country is in actual poverty or not. Basic Human Needs, which includes medical care, sanitation, and shelter foundations of wellbeing, which covers education, access to technology, and life expectancy and opportunity, which looks at personal rights, freedom of choice, and general tolerance is a way that could help determine if a country is poor when all these factors are added up and compared.
  • I think that this would be better than just comparing the economic growth of a country because it adds more factors into effect and will be more accurate and comparable.

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