What are some of the main effects of poverty in developing countries? 

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many important impacts of poverty in developing nations, though many of these effects are hard to distinguish from causes of poverty.  In other words, there are many things that are both caused by poverty and help, in turn, to perpetuate that poverty.  Let us look at three such factors.

One effect of poverty is poor health.  People in developing countries who lack access to things like clean water, good sanitation, and good health care can often experience worse health than people in rich countries would.  This also helps lead to poverty because people who are in poor health a great deal of the time and thus will be less able to work and make money.

Another effect of poverty is poor education.  People who are very poor often need their children to help work to support the family.  They cannot afford to have a child who does not bring any economic benefit.  Therefore, even if schooling is completely free, parents might not be able to send their children to school.  This also helps lead to poverty because it ensures that generation after generation of people lack the education to get any jobs that are not menial.

A third effect of poverty is on the country as a whole, not on the individual.  This is that poverty leads to poor governance.  Governments with weak tax bases are not able to pay civil servants good wages.  They are not able to purchase all of the things that they need.  This leads to the existence of governments that cannot meet their citizens’ needs.  It also often leads to corruption.

All of these things are impacts of poverty, but all can also be seen as causes.