Types of poverty: in How Many Forms Can Poverty Manifest Itself?

Everyone is familiar with the concept of poverty, but poverty has different forms of manifestation. Therefore, there are different types of poverty depending on the measurement used, the geographical area and how or whom it affects. 


Moreover, poverty can be measurered very differently depending on the different parameters that exist.


So, you think you know all about poverty?


Keep Reading!

What is poverty?

According to the  United Nations (UN), poverty is a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs”.


Likewise, the conditions established by the UN are:

  • Access to food
  • Safe drinking water
  • Sanitation.
  • Healthcare.
  • Housing.
  • Education.
  • Information.

In short, poverty is known as a difficulty in ability to obtain the basic resources necessary to live. However, everyone thinks that it is associated with a lack of economic resources, but in reality, it goes much further than a lack of money.


Below, we will explain the different types of poverty that exist and how each one affects the lives of the people who suffer from it.

Types of poverty

There are 4 different types of poverty, depending on how it is measured:

  • Relative poverty: This measures the perceived deprivation of certain people and others living in the same social environment. This poverty is related to inequality in terms of the difficulty of finding a job or being able to buy a home.
  • Absolute poverty: This poverty is related to all people who are below the poverty line. Therefore, they cannot cover their basic needs in order to live, such as food, hygiene or even access to drinking water.
  • Structural poverty: This
    is suffered by people who are unsatisfied with their income, which makes it
    impossible for them to afford the cost of a good quality of life.
  • Conjunctural Poverty: This can be defined as economic and temporary poverty that affects some people at a given moment. 

There are also different types of poverty depending on geographical area:

  • Rural poverty: This is the poverty that is concentrated in rural areas, far from urban areas. It especially occurs in countries with little industrial development.
  • Urban poverty: This poverty is the complete opposite of rural poverty, as it is found in urban areas where there are greater inequalities due to the large growth of cities. This poverty is mainly concentrated in the slums of large cities.

Did you know that Comuniraria fights to reduce poverty
in disadvantaged neighbourhoods?

Finally, there are other types of poverty depending on how and who it affects:

  • Extreme poverty: This is the worst type of poverty that exists. It affects people who are not able to satisfy their most basic needs, such as drinking water, eating or sleeping in a house.
  • Child poverty: As its name suggests, this is the poverty that directly affects children up to the age of 16 (the age at which they can enter the labour market). We have already talked about child poverty and how it affects children.
  • Material poverty: his poverty occurs when people lack material elements, such as not being able to eat a hot meal or not being able to keep their home warm, among others.

How is poverty measured?

Considering that there are different types of poverty, we can also say that there are different ways of measuring it.


The most common way of measuring poverty is the method proposed by the World Bank. Poverty is calculated by dividing the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by the number of inhabitants. In this case, a person would be considered poor if their income is below the national standard of each country.


Another way to measure the level of poverty is through the Human Development Index (HDI), proposed by the UN. This indicator serves to measure a country’s level of development, not only by taking into account the salary of a person, but also their different deprivations and needs.


The calculation of the HDI is therefore more complex to measure, as it is composed of 3 different parameters: life expectancy, education, and economic wealth, which also have their own index.