Does Poverty Cause Crime?


Poverty has been structured to mean a consistent deprivation of relevant properties needed for the peaceful enjoyment of a person’s life. Academically, this could mean a reflection of the socio-economic status of an individual, body, country or society due to their inability to provide for themselves or their people, a prescribed extent of the minimum requirements needed for the continuance of everyday life.

Social experiments have eternally tried to proffer a solution to crime and the effects it has on the environment, particularly the social and economic framework of the society.

When dissected, one would see that the prevalence of a menace in any society cannot be wished away, irrespective of how stable the social setting is or how much the economy can garner in the case of a capitalist dispensation or how stiff the penalties are for such offences as in the reality of both liberal and authoritarian systems of administration.

That said, the solution to the total eradication of crime is not in sight, yet by identifying the causes of various crimes, one could drastically reduce the constant occurrence of it or increase the proficiency of stopping it before it blooms. Consequently, we ask questions, and in this case, does poverty cause crime?

Notwithstanding, this trend relates to the ratio between the number of rich and socially deprived people and how they interrelate in fostering the economy. When quantifying this, if the number of rich people is higher than the poor, the poverty rate might be high. Now, does poverty cause crime? Before answering this question, it would be vital to note the causes of poverty.


Most times, the end game of poverty is usually the lack of money. Such understanding innately implies that the causes of poverty could be the inability to save or make enough money. However, when considered, various causes are not influenced by an impoverished person. These are:

Economic Construct

Every society has a definite head whose responsibility is to cater for the well-being of the people, through the provision of jobs, increment in wages and productivity, alongside stability in competitiveness in the industry. Still, when these things are ignored, people tend to be deprived.

Medical Conditions

Sometimes, the stage of one’s life promotes the invitation of various ailments, which impedes the vitality to work and earn a living. Conditions such as old age, permanent or temporary disability, and illnesses, play this role. Hence, the product of the helplessness in earning a living will initiate poverty.

Cultural Setting

Often, when a person has a sizeable amount of dependent family members, such people tend to dig into an individual’s potentially low income and this will result in the incapacity to meet certain personal needs.

Level of Education

Usually, a person’s access to vital infrastructures such as schools will lead to limited opportunities in educational qualifications which will limit the chances of effectively combating poverty.

Military Conflict or War

The results of the war vary. While there might be a victor and the vanquished, its effect on the people will result in forced migration because of the deaths and loss of businesses, which could be used to boost the socio-economic net worth of the environment.


When posed with the question of whether poverty is a sire of crimes, the answers have frequently been conflicting. Putting this in the light of a social setting nursing the consequences of an economic meltdown or a country where corruption by a few has left the country to be partitioned into the needy and needless extravagance, the last resort is usually a crime. This is because, when there is a failure to make a living due to the success of plundering and economic racketeering from an illegitimate administration, the common mindset is always to take back what has been taken. When this happens, the revolution ends up becoming a crime.

Stepping away from revolutions, one of the major proceeds of impoverishment is hunger. With hunger, comes the need to quench it with its only panacea, food. Yet, when the ability to get food is a blocked, especially in the case of an individual who has many extended family members or a sizable number of dependents, that person can resort to crime.

Deeming the psychological reliance on greed, aggression, disrespect for criminal legislation and laziness to be valid causes of crime, one can also see that poverty means the deprivation of necessary commodities like food, accommodation, and clothing.

With the human inherent trait of adaptability, one is bound to seek out these necessities, even when it is not readily accessible. Such traits could gear one towards crime. An example of this is when a person has a relative who is sick yet does not have enough money to pay for medicines; this individual could rob a drugstore to save the life of that relative.

Besides, the uneven distribution of resources, leading to unemployment or lack of education, is one of the causes of poverty. Ultimately, when a few groups of people have been deprived of the means of earning an income or access to education, their psyche is limited to what they know.

Hence, in the event where a person’s orientation about the world is limited to a particular demography that is prevalent with a crime, the lack of formal or informal education could cause a person to think in line with their options. When it comes to impoverishment, these options are sadly limited.

Finally, does poverty cause crime? The answer is yes. However, it should be noted that poverty is not a justification for crime. But, when a crime is committed, it is usually caused by the citizens of the place where the crime exists, some of who are naturally predisposed and unwilling to engage in crime, yet are forced to do so as a result of unfriendly circumstances. Hence, while poverty might not be a justification for crime, it has the potential to cause it.


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