Short Answer Essay Example

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Short Answer

8th September, 2013

Poverty and Its Various Kinds

Poverty refers to a condition that is characterized by serious deprivation of basic human needs, such as food, health, safe drinking water, information, shelter and education (NIS 2006). In this regard, it is evident that poverty can be divided into various types depending on the need that the particular group deprived and this may include monetary poverty, asset poverty, social exclusion, chronic poverty, locally defined poverty and capability poverty. Monetary Povertyrefers to poverty that is associated with the income of a family. Whenever the income of a family fails to meet a threshold that is set by a federation known as a poverty line (differs in different countries), then the family is said to be poor in a monetary perspective (WFP n.d; NIS 2006; Smelser & Baltes 2001). As such, the command over resources for that particular family is said to have fallen below a minimally acceptance level in that country. In reference to Cambodia, the 2009 estimates indicate that 35%, more than one-third, of the total population lives below the poverty line of between $ 0.46 and $0.63 per day in consideration to the 2010 exchange rates (BTI 2012). This indicates that at this time, 35% of the Cambodian population were considered monetarily poor. A 2007 survey by World Bank in Cambodia indicates that 30.1% of the national population were living below the poverty line (World Bank n.d). Contrarily, Asset poverty refers to the lack of ability of a particular household to access wealth or possession resources that are plenty enough to make available its fundamental needs for a summed duration of 3 months (UNDP 1997). These basic needs point at the bare minimum standards for expenditure and satisfactory needs. Wealth resources take account of home possession, in addition to other real estate, such as rented material goods and 2nd homes, net worth of corporation and business property, stocks or supplies, checking and reserves accounts, and other savings such as money in investment bonds, and life cover (insurance) policy cash values, amongst others. Basic needs refer to food, shelter and clothing, and as such, a deprivation of these fundamental needs culminate into asset poverty.

Monetary Poverty and Asset Poverty in Columbia

The Cambodia Socio-Economic survey of the year 2004, which was conducted by the National Institute of Statistics (NIS), and covered fifteen thousand households across the whole country’s population, indicated that the whole food poverty line (asset poverty) of the state was restructured by changing inflation. In regard to the current exchange rates, the 2004 poverty line was approximated at US$ 0.59%, which is 2351 Riel in Phnom Penh, US$ 0.49 in urban areas and US$ 0.44 in areas categorised as rural. However, the World Bank and Ministry of Planning in Cambodia make use of a different mode of analysis to work out the food poverty line by converting the food intake into Riel to attain a level of 2,100 Kilocalories per person per day. In regard to making use of this method, the food poverty line was approximated at US$ 0.45% in Phnom Penh, US$ 0.39 in urban areas, and US$ 0.35 in areas considered rural (NIS, 2006). When comparisons are made between Cambodia and other countries that are still developing in the region in consideration to the percentage of the national population that still lives below the national poverty line, then Cambodia’s is higher than what was recorded in other countries that are still developing within the region, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, amongst others, as represented in the table below.

Comparison of Percentage (%age) of Population below National Poverty Line

Short Answer


The 2004 CSES survey approximated that 35% of the population in Cambodia lived below the national poverty line, and 20% lived below the lower food poverty line (World Bank 2006). The rate of poverty was recorded as highest in rural areas, at 39%, and relatively lower in urban environments, at 5% and 25%, in Phnom Penh and other urban set ups respectively (World Bank 2006). During the survey, the occurrence of poverty was estimated in five main geographical areas that include Plateau or Mountains, Phnom Penh, Coastal, Plain zone and Tonle Sap (WFP n.d). In the report, higher incidences of poverty were registered in Mountain Zones and lower incidences recorded in Phnom Penh.

The Poverty Assessment performed by the World Bank in Cambodia in the year 2006 illustrated that the reduction in consumption poverty (Asset Poverty) had gone along with an improvement in other non-economic indicators that include possession of end user durables, schooling and housing quality. However, some indicators are adopting a downward trend and as such, Cambodia was categorized at position 130 out of the overall 177 states that are part of the 2005 UNDP Human Development Index and similarly ranked position 57/87 of the human development nations that were part of the Human Poverty Index, which took into consideration educational, nutritional outcomes, and health in addition to safe water and health care facilities and services (World Bank 2006).

Shortcomings of Monetary and Asset Poverty as Applied in Cambodia

The definition of poverty in regard to asset poverty and monetary poverty simply refer to the ability of Cambodia’s population to access basic needs, such as food, and liquid cash that can be used to purchase these basic needs, therefore narrow. It is important that multifaceted or versatile indicators of poverty be incorporated in studies that aim to enhance the conceptual understanding of poverty because it remains an issue that is widespread and multidimensional (UNESCO n.d). For instance, the rural remote areas that were identified in Cambodia, according to the World Bank Poverty Assessment report of 2006, to have recorded the highest occurrence rates of poverty face lots of problems. Since this represents approximately 85% of the total, they face multi-dimensional problems that include lack of secure land tenure, low educational levels, remoteness in regard to market and basic services access, high dependency ratios and lack of assets that are productive (World Bank 2006).

Inequality in Cambodia

Short Answer 1

As such, the definition should incorporate varied perspectives that include income, basic
needs and capability views, thus becoming more of an inequality issue or simply a social seclusion form of poverty.


BTI 2012, Cambodia Country Report, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

Chiboodia n.d, Cambodia’s Poverty, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

IMF 2006, “Article IV Consultations”, Country Report No 06/264.

IMF 2006, Cambodia Consultative Group Meeting, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

NIS 2006, A Poverty Profile of Cambodia 2004, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

Royal Government of Cambodia, National Institute of Statistics 2004, “Cambodia Inter-Censal Populations Survey 2004

Smelser, NJ & Baltes, PB (eds.) 2001, International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences, Elsevier: Oxford Science Ltd.

UNDP n.d, Human Development Report 1997: Human Development to Eradicate Poverty, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

UNESCO n.d, Poverty, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

WFP n.d, Poverty: National Poverty, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

Word Press 2009, what is Poverty? (2): Different Definitions of Poverty and an Attempt to Make Some Order, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

World Bank 2006, “East Asia Update: Cambodia Overview”

World Bank 2006, Cambodia: Poverty Assessment, viewed 08 September 2013, <>.

World Bank n.d, Poverty headcount ratio at national poverty line (% of population), viewed 08 September 2013, <>.