The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Poverty is prevalent in all societies, and it is an issue that we need to desperately tackle. Poverty includes the harsh reality of realizing that being poor means spending more. While this statement seems odd and counterintuitive on the surface, people below the poverty line often have to spend more on daily needs than people who are financially stable. While it might be easy to think that providing disadvantaged people with more money would be the solution, this is often not the case .
To start off, the issue of poverty is associated with a lack of accessibility. For example, low-income communities often have less access to healthier food options because they are typically more expensive. Because healthier foods are more expensive, people with low incomes are less likely to consume them as it is simply not worth the value: why spend more money for less items when you can go to a fast-food joint that could fill you up while spending less money? When you are struggling to make ends meet, health is not a priority – the bills are. When you do not have savings, splurging on food (even if it is healthier or tastes better) is not even an option. Poverty is not just about having no money; it is also about having less choices than everyone else.
This lack of access due to a monetary barrier leads to other consequences besides the lack of choice in daily life . As aforementioned, health is not a priority if you are struggling to pay rent and other bills. In your mind, all you would be thinking about is how much more you need to earn to pay your debts and make sure you still have a roof over your head. This leads to a neglect of health – both physical and mental – and that makes it even more expensive in the long run. If you are poor and get sick, you often tough it out instead of taking a day off work because you are desperate to make money. However, working while being sick can often prolong your sickness and exacerbate it. You could end up getting so sick that you will have to visit a doctor and take more days off. So, instead of missing out on a day’s work, you would end up missing more and having to pay for the medical visit as well. It is truly small things like this that compound into tremendous economic and physical burdens for the poor.
Moreover, it is even more difficult for the poor to climb up the social ladder because being poor is so costly. If you do not have enough money saved up to pay a monthly rent at an apartment, you would then go to the alternative of living at a motel that asks you to pay daily. While you can fork up the money to pay the motel on an everyday basis, it is generally more expensive to live in a residential motel than an apartment. But because you do not have the capacity to save your money, the next option turns pricier. Even if you manage to find a place, repairs and maintenance are out of the question. If your stove is broken and your landlord refuses to t fix it, you would need to rely on take-out, which is more expensive than cooking yourself.
Even if you have the resources to cook, you might not necessarily have the energy to. Various minimum-wage jobs are often physically taxing with long hours, and it is reasonable to not want to spend more time standing and cooking after grueling shifts at work. This poses another issue surrounding poverty that needs to be addressed as well: the misconception that poor people are lazy and that their issues would be solved if they worked harder. Personally, it does not sit right with me to think that the poor need to work harder than everyone else to receive the same opportunities. It is unfair to place such high expectations on poor people in order for them to survive while the people degrading the poor were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
Understanding the notion that the poor often stay poor because they do not have the opportunity to save or invest further highlights the complexity of poverty and thus makes it more difficult to find the solution to eradicate poverty. As you can see, the solution to poverty is not just to give the poor more money. A multidimensional problem requires an intricate solution just intricate , and conversations around this issue need to occur for society to create progress among all economical classes.