Inequality and poverty are major challenges facing the world today.
Most people in society would agree that there should be less people experiencing poverty, but if we are serious about reducing poverty, we have to reduce inequality also.
When an economy is doing well, there is often an assumption that poverty decreases. This is not always the case. Often as the economy grows the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest increases. Examining the way in which wealth is divided up might prove that a small number of the people generally receive most of the benefits of growth.
But what does poverty or inequality look like?
The National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS) defines poverty as:
“People are living in poverty, if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living, which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally. As a result of inadequate income and resources people may be excluded and marginalised from participating in activities which are considered the norm for other people in society.”
When many of us think of poverty, we think of what is known as ‘consistent poverty’ - people who are at a very low income level and lack very basic things such as enough money for strong shoes or to heat their home. This form of poverty is less common in Ireland today.