Difference Between Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty

Poverty is an economic condition where humans experience a lack of certain commodities essential for stable living.

Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty are two terms used to measure this poverty level.

Absolute Poverty is used to describe a condition where an individual does not have the financial means to obtain commodities to sustain life.

Relative Poverty refers to the standard of living compared to economic standards of living within the same surroundings.

Difference Between Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty

This article will further highlight the significant differences between absolute poverty and relative poverty within the context of the IAS Exam

Aspirants can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

The difference between Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty is given in the table below:                                              

Differences between Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty

Absolute Poverty

Relative Poverty

Any person not in a position to obtain essential commodities like food, shelter and clothing are said to experience absolute poverty Relative poverty does not concentrate on biological needs but rather makes a comparison between two people in the environment
Income Level is considered in Absolute Poverty It is not considered when measuring relative poverty as a person will still be considered poor despite meeting his.her basic needs 
Absolute poverty, however, does not include a broader quality of life issues or the overall level of inequality in society. What the concept fails to recognize is that individuals also have important social and cultural needs. Although people living in relative poverty are to an extent well-off compared to those living in absolute poverty, they still cannot afford the same standard of life as other people in society.
Measured using Poverty Line Measured Using the Gini-Coefficient and Lorenzo Curve
It is not possible to completely eradicate absolute  There is a small margin of success where its eradication is concerned
Quality of life is poor  Quality of life is marginally better as those living under relative poverty have access to health care services

The concept of poverty is covered under the Economy segment of the UPSC Exams. Aspirants can find study materials related to this segment with the links given below:

Difference Between Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty: UPSC Notes – Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about Absolute and Relative Poverty


What is an example of Relative Poverty?

Causes of relative poverty include unemployment, poor health, and inequalities within the labor market. An example of someone in relative poverty is a person who does not have a job and relies on government assistance to maintain.

What is an example of absolute poverty?

Absolute poverty is caused by debt, world population increases, natural disasters, conflicts, and child labor. An example of absolute poverty includes a 12-year-old boy who has never been to see a doctor or attended school.

Candidates can find the general pattern of the UPSC Exams by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page. For more articles and exam-related preparation materials, refer to the links given in the table below:

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