Who is Affected by Poverty?

Unfortunately, no one is immune to poverty. The degree to which a person is vulnerable is based on a complex mix of factors which are further explored in Why Does Poverty Exist? of this series. This booklet provides examples of who is most likely to be impacted by risk factors associated with personal, community, institutional and societal levels. At a personal level, unexpected situations and shifting variables can influence who is living in poverty. Many people affected by illness, injury, divorce, or job loss struggle to make ends meet, for instance. Such unexpected events have a significant impact on income levels, ability to work, and savings. Likewise, variables such as age or family responsibilities can lead to changes in a person’s financial well-being. These variables can cause fluctuations in costs of living, income, and employability. For a senior on a fixed income, for example, rising medical expenses can present challenges to meeting basic needs. For others, becoming a caregiver means adjustments to paid work arrangements by taking time off from work, reducing work hours, quitting or retiring, and turning down job offers or promotions.

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