• Sandra Ericson

Cause Of Poverty

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

The United States now has the greatest gap between poor and rich of any industrialized country. The pandemic will cast millions more into poverty.

Poverty leading to homelessness is caused by many interacting factors. This list is the result of two years of extracting identified causes of poverty and homelessness from research, news articles, reports and opinion pieces as homelessness has grown throughout the country. It doesn't identify systemic realities that individuals who are struggling to survive cannot fix, such as unequal property laws, unfair taxation, market systems, international competition.  In a distinct category all its own is the problem of unpaid

women's work. As financial inequity increases, women are still

largely responsible for taking care of the home and the children.

As they take on longer hours or multiple jobs, less time and

attention is spent on both children and the home. While many


men have stepped up to the plate, it is not a national practice.

Valerie Hudson, professor at Texas A & M, writes further on 

practices that "begin in the household" and their implications

for the whole of society in her new book

As less time and attention is spent on family matters or seeking health and consumer information, there is more use of higher priced conveniences, like fast food. Over time, this crunch causes poverty, poor health and ignorance about human needs. Human Ecology education helps both men and women learn how to rebalance family needs, raise mentally and physically healthy children and retain more what they earn for their future. Poverty is caused by many interacting factors. First, it is important to understand that substance addiction and mental illness are medical problems and deserve health treatments and rehabilitation. Roughly half of the homeless population have such health problems, many caused by circumstances that lead to hopelessness and depression. The lists below address the situational or generational circumstances that lead to depression, addiction, poor health and poverty.

This list is the result of two years of extracting identified causes of poverty and homelessness from research, news articles, reports and opinion pieces as homelessness has grown throughout the country. It doesn't identify systemic realities that individuals struggling to survive cannot fix, such as unequal property laws, unfair taxation, market systems, international competition.  In a distinct category all its own is the problem of unpaid women's work. As financial inequity increases, women are still largely responsible for taking care of the home and the children. As they take on longer hours or multiple jobs, less time and attention is spent on both children and the home. While many men have stepped up to the plate, it is not a national practice. Valerie Hudson, professor at Texas A & M, writes further on practices that "begin in the household" and their implications for the whole of society in her new book.  As less time and attention is spent on family matters or seek health and consumer information, there is more use of higher priced conveniences, like fast food. Over time this crunch causes poverty, poor health and ignorance about human needs. Human Ecology education helps both men and women learn how to re-balance family needs, raise mentally and physically healthy children and retain more what they earn for their future. ​ External, difficult to control social factors include: These factors result from short-term economic and social expectations of society that emphasize money and markets instead of long-term human welfare. 

  • Failure of society to prepare individuals for responsible maturity.

  • A consumer society in which consumer ignorance is weaponized to the consumer's disadvantage.

  • Stigmatization based upon race, religion, ethnicity, physical disability.

  • Inability to learn to live independently outside of an institution such as prison or the military.

  • Ineffective social systems such as transportation, medical treatment or higher education that are financially disabling.

Internal controllable factors include: These factors can be significantly influenced by formal or informal education or training programs.

  • Lack of consumer and financial knowledge and law

  • Poor appearance

  • Cannot manage time

  • Poor health habits

  • Cannot identify own skills, therefore cannot use them

  • Poor financial control

  • Procrastinates due to fear

  • Prioritizes happiness over practicality

  • Caregiver burnout

  • Lack of paperwork or computer skills

  • Job burnout

  • Dependence on authority

  • Lack of discipline



Stage of life factors: Age is a given, which means that measures need to be structurally built into educational and welfare systems to accommodate different ages.

Young:

  • Not sufficient knowledge or experience​

  • Lack of a model

  • Lack of process understanding

  • No savings and/or student loan debt

  • Low income

How are young people supposed to know how to manage finances, be safe from scams and eat healthy?

Old:

  • Low income​

  • Lack of savings and/or debt

  • Poor health

  • Lack of insurance

  • Lack of transportation

  • Depression

  • Life events, accidents, divorce, deaths

Poor seniors are rapidly adding to the number of homeless people. The rate will grow in the future.


Personality Factors:

These issues can often be mitigated by interest and aptitude tests to discover individual skills and a personal passion. This promotes accomplishment and the ability to understand and accept the process needed for success.

  • Lack of normal fear

  • Drastic responses to normal experiences like boredom

  • Poor use of choice, aptitude or interest

  • Unrealistic expectations

  • Too impatient to research or learn

  • Dissolves into pathos

  • Need to feel 'covered' or 'protected' by beliefs, religion or political affiliations

  • Difficulty with rules or systems

  • Don't try to solve problems, abandons solutions

Covid - 19

With the pandemic, the poor are experiencing even greater barriers to receiving assistance and being heard. The chart below enumerates only some of the issues. These problems exist, pandemic or not, but are life threatening now. The 'systems' in the US do not treat all people equally, nor were they designed to do so.

Chart from www.tippingpoint.com