Aspects of Poverty

The culture of poverty was a phrase coined during the 1960s that provides a psychological explanation of poverty and the poor. There are many definitions of poverty but one of the most common equates poverty with deprivation, "insufficiency in food, housing, clothing, medical care, and other items required to maintain a decent standard of living" (DeNitto 2000, 67). Poverty can also be viewed as exploitative or structural. However, with respect to the "culture of poverty", poverty is viewed as not only a lack of resources for a decent standard of living but also a mental attitude among the poor. As DeNitto (2000) defines it, the culture of poverty "involves not just a low income but also attitudes of indifference, alienation, and apathy, along with lack of incentives and self-respect" (80). Many liberal ascribe to this viewpoint of poverty, but conservatives argue that opportunities to get ahead are widely available. Mead argues that nonwork exists because of a lack of work enforcement and attitudes among the poor toward work, "the poor do not believe they have the opportunity, and this still keeps them from working" (DeNitt



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