Meaning And Categories Of Poor

Poor meaning

A poor person is an individual who does not have the provisions or financial capabilities to fulfill the minimum essential necessities of life. Street cobblers, push-cart vendors, rag pickers, flower sellers, beggars, and vendors are some kinds of poor and weak groups in urban neighbourhoods. The poor maintain few assets and stay in kutcha huts with walls built of baked mud and roofs built of grass, bamboo, thatch, and wood. The poorest of them do not even have such homes.

In the rural areas, many of them hardly possess anything. Even if some of them own property, it is either dry or a wasteland. Several people do not get even two meals a day. Starvation and hunger are the principal characteristics of poverty-struck families. The poor tend to not possess the fundamental literacy and jobs and therefore have poor economic possibilities.

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Types of Poor

There are multiple ways to describe poverty-stricken people.

  •     Chronic poor: People who are leading constant lives of poverty and who are normally poor but may have a small amount of money with them (for example, casual workers) are classified collectively as the chronic poor.
  •     Churning poor: The churning poor are the people who go in and out of poverty (for example, small farmers and seasonal workers).
  •     Transient poor: The poor who are well off most of the time but may be subject to bad luck or difficult times at times. They are known as the transient poor.

Solved Questions.

Q.1- Who is a poor person? What do you understand by the urban poor and the rural poor?


Poor A poor person is someone who does not enjoy the basic necessities of life.
(1) Urban poor The poor living in urban areas comprise the following:

1. Rag pickers

2. Beggars

3. Push-cart vendors

4. Street cobblers


1. They live in kutcha houses with walls made of baked mud and roofs made of grass, bamboo, etc.

2. Some of them do not have such shelters.


1. They possess a few assets.

2. They do not have a fixed source of earning a livelihood.


1. Most of the urban poor are largely constituted by the overflow of the rural poor.

2. They had migrated to urban areas to seek employment and livelihood.

(2) Rural poor Poor people living in rural areas comprise the following:

1. Landless labourers

2. Cultivators with small landholdings


1. Many of the rural poor are landless.

2. Even if some of them possess land, it tends to be dry or a wasteland.


1. Many rural poor do not get to have even two meals a day.

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Q.2- What are the common characteristics of poor people?
Lack of basic amenities     Most poor households do not have the access to basic amenities like safe drinking water, electricity, etc.

    Their primary cooking fuel is firewood and cow dung cake.

Starvation and hunger     Starvation and hunger are the main issues of the poorest families.

    The basic amount of food tends to not be available.

Malnutrition     Malnutrition is another alarming issue for poor households.

    Health issues, disability, and serious illnesses are a few reasons that make poor people physically weak.

Larger family size     Poor families tend to be larger in size.

    They believe that a larger number of children would result in the increase of their earning capacity in the future.

    This makes their economic condition worse.

Limited economic opportunities     The poor lack basic literacy skills.

    They tend to not have a fixed employment.

    They have limited economic opportunities.

Debt trap     The rural poor generally borrow money from the local moneylenders at high rates of interest.

    When the poor are unable to repay these debts, they get pushed into chronic indebtedness.

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Multiple-Choice Questions
Q.1 A ______ person is someone who does not enjoy the basic necessities of life.
a. poor

b. rich

c. Both (a) and (b)

d. None of the above


Q.2 Which of the following categories are doctors covered under?
a. Chronic poor

b. Transient poor

c. Non-poor

d. Rural poor


Q.3 Which of the following categories are casual workers covered under?
a. Chronic poor

b. Transient poor

c. Non-poor

d. Rural poor


Q.4 Which of the following are covered under the category of urban poor?
a. Rag pickers

b. Beggars

c. Push-cart vendors

d. All of the above

1-a, 2-c, 3-a, 4-d
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