Poverty is scarcity, dearth, or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution refers to the deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education. Relative poverty is defined contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live.
For much of history, poverty was considered largely unavoidable as traditional modes of production were insufficient to give an entire population a comfortable standard of living. After the industrial revolution, mass production in factories made production goods increasingly less expensive and more accessible. Of more importance is the modernization of agriculture, such as fertilizers, to provide enough yield to feed the population. The supply of basic needs can be restricted by constraints on government services such as corruption, tax avoidance, debt and loan conditionalities and by the brain drain of health care and educational professionals. Strategies of increasing income to make basic needs more affordable typically include welfare, economic freedoms, and providing financial services.
Poverty reduction is a major goal and issue for many international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. The World Bank estimated 1.29 billion people were living in absolute poverty in 2008. Of these, about 400 million people in absolute poverty lived in India and 173 million people in China. In terms of percentage of regional populations, sub-Saharan Africa at 47% had the highest incidence rate of absolute poverty in 2008. Between 1990 and 2010, about 663 million people moved above the absolute poverty level. Still, extreme poverty is a global challenge; it is observed in all parts of the world, including developed economies.
Begging is the practice of imploring others to grant a favor, often a gift of money, with little or no expectation of reciprocation. Beggars may be found in public places such as transport routes, urban parks, and near busy markets. Besides money, they may also ask for cigarettes or other small items.
According to a study in the journal of the Canadian Medical Association, "(70%) [of beggars] stated that they would prefer a minimum-wage job, typically citing a desire for a 'steady income' or 'getting off the street.' However, many felt they could not handle conventional jobs because of mental illness, physical disability or lack of skills."