What Are the Root Causes of Poverty?

Poverty is a complex system of barriers that continues to deprive families and individuals’ access to basic human needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare.

Below the surface are deeply rooted causes that overlap and intertwine to create complex barriers for inequity to persist.

Without addressing structural racism as a fundamental driver of income inequality—and income inequality as a fundamental driver of poverty— these deeply rooted issues will continue to grow in our community.

According to census data, In 2018, there were about 23,000 people experiencing homelessness in Cuyahoga County. There were also 233,580 food insecure people across the city.

There is an urgency now to identify the root causes that fuel systemic inequity and collectively align benign efforts to create innovative and lasting solutions for future generations.

Understanding this system is the first step toward breaking the cycle of poverty and its symptoms – homelessness, hunger, health disparities and unemployment. Breaking this barrier can provide mobility, opportunity, and independence for thousands of people in our city and nation.