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What Is Situational Poverty?

Poverty is defined as the situation wherein one is extremely poor. There are different kinds of poverty, situational poverty being one of them. Situational poverty occurs when an individual or a group suddenly faces poverty because of external circumstances and is usually a temporary situation. It is differentiated from generational poverty, which is a type of poverty that can exist from one generation to the next. In a sense, generational poverty can be considered more of a mindset as compared to situational poverty.

The cause of situational poverty can be traced to different reasons. One example is that if one runs his own business and it goes under, he can find himself facing situational poverty. If one is employed and suddenly finds himself without a job - for one reason or another - for an extended period of time, situational poverty may also arise.

Another common scenario involves the death of the main earner in the family. Say, for example, that the father is the main earner, the mother does not have the ability to work, and the children are not old enough to make a living. If there are no measures set in place - such as income from a pension or life insurance policy - then the surviving family members might very well find themselves facing situational poverty.

People who offer assistance to those in poverty need to understand the special circumstances surrounding those who are experiencing situational poverty. Otherwise, good intentions may only result in more harm.

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