Sociological Views of Poverty

2775 Words Apr 3rd, 2012 12 Pages
Sociological Views of Poverty
Michelle Williams-Thomas
Sociology 101
Professor Yelena Gidenko
February 12, 2012

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the most common reasons people died were accidents
or communicable diseases like pneumonia. Today, millions die each day from poverty. How
can poverty be defined? And what is the difference between absolute and relative poverty? In
the paper I will address these issues along with sociological views of poverty. Poverty is a social
issue that affects the world. Poverty causes many to be malnourished and die at a young age, it
is a cause of deviant behavior such as crime, and also causes the poor to be marginalized from
society and have little voice in public and
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Usually these rates are higher among men
because they are considered the “bread winner” of the family. Consider how standards of living
have changed over the centuries. The average lifespan of Europeans who survived childhood
1,000 years ago was less than 35 years. In 1900, the average American could expect to live only
49 years, but people in many developed economies now typically live well into their 70s because
of advances in nutrition and medicine. Polio, cholera, smallpox, diphtheria, and leprosy are now
extinct or quite rare in developed economies.
In the U.S. children raised in poverty tend to miss school more often because of illness. These
children also have a much higher rate of accidents than do other children, and they are twice as
likely to have impaired vision and hearing, iron deficiency anemia, and higher than normal levels
of lead in the blood, which can impair brain function. When it comes to society many poor
people are labeled or stigmatized. Most blame the poor for their pitiful state claiming that if they
want to work they could. And government officials want to cut back on Medicaid, Medicare,
and health care. Most of the elite or well off do not want to use their tax dollars to help the poor.

Primitive or traditional societies existed for long periods of time without making major changes.
In order for them to become more economically secure, the modernization theory assumes that