How Much Do You Really Know About Poverty?

Blog Post
Dec. 14, 2010

I'm a big fan of games as educational tools, and our friends at the Half in Ten campaign have come up with a great one to test how much you really know about poverty.

"Poverty" can be a nebulous term that limits how people perceive who is poor, why they are poor, what the experience of poverty is like, and what role policy can play in addressing it. Hunger, for instance, is much more descriptive because it is an experience that we've all had, if only momentarily, and the cause, effect, and solution are perceived to be much more direct- lack of food = hunger, so no hunger = more food (since hunger is less about lack of food and more about lack of resources with which to obtain food, hunger is actually a symptom of poverty, but the perception piece is the larger determinant of how it's defined and addressed). Building support for addressing a condition that is perceived as more distant (and consequently easier to draw negative generalizations about) and complicated is more of a challenge, especially if you are an advocacy organization like Half in Ten. This quiz deftly defines some of those facets of poverty by showing that poverty, in fact, is a pervasive experience that a third of us are likely to find ourselves in at some point during our lifetime (that's the only free answer you're getting!) and that event full-time employment isn't a safeguard against falling short of meeting your basic needs. Most importantly, the quiz demonstrates that poverty isn't an intractable problem. There are real policy solutions that work and the real impediment to sustainable progress is lack of political will. That's a lot of heavy lifting for a little quiz.