Poverty Quotes from Scientists, Revolutionaries, Writers, Politicians, Athletes and Artists
September 18, 2022 7:00 AM EST
These quotes about poverty will have you thinking deeper about the conditions we manifest on planet earth.
Did you know that every year, more than 6 million children die from malnutrition?
Or that every day 800 million human beings go to bed hungry?
Even worse, every minute a child dies in pregnancy or childbirth.
All three of these preventable conditions are a result of poverty.
Even though humanity has survived to make it to 2021, we still haven’t found a solution to the problem of poverty on our planet.
What is it that makes poverty such a complex issue?
The actor Jeff Bridges noted that “Poverty is a complicated issue, but feeding a child isn’t.”
It seems we have a lot of work to do in this area as a collective.
These poverty quotes come from people and professionals from all different walks of life.
Let us know which quote resonates with you the most.
Don’t forget to also check out these community quotes to help you find your place in the world.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
If you enjoy this collection, check out our inspirational quotes category page.
Poverty quotes from revolutionaries
1. “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” – Mahatma Gandhi
2. “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” – Nelson Mandela
3. “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” – Mahatma Gandhi
You will also enjoy our article on science quotes.
4. “The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality.” – Mother Teresa
5. “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” – Nelson Mandela
6. “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” – Unknown
7. “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.” – Mother Teresa
Poverty quotes from Writers
8. “Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.” – Eli Khamarov
9. “Where people are really attached, poverty itself is wealth.” – Jane Austin
10. “The wealth of a soul is measured by how much it can feel… its poverty by how little.” –Sherrilyn Kenyon
11. Around the world, poverty and social background remain huge barriers in scientific careers.” – Jane J. Lee
12. “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? –Charlotte Bronte
13. “It takes nothing to stay in poverty, but everything to break free from it.” – Idowu Koyenikan
14. “You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.”- Frank McCourt
15. “An educated man can put up with enforced idleness, which is one of the worst evils of poverty.” – George Orwell
16. “Childhood, after all, is the first precious coin that poverty steals from a child.” – Anthony Horrowitz
17. “But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear.” –Khaled Hosseini
18. “If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.”- John Steinback
19. “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.” –Herman Melville
20. “In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.” – George Orwell
21. “Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor, — all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked, — who is good? not that men are ignorant, — what is Truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.” – W.E.B Dubois
22. “For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.” – George Orwell
23. “A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first.” – Victoria Moran
24. The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit.” – George Orwell
Poverty quotes from Politicians
25. “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”-John F. Kennedy
26. “Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.” – Kofi Annan
27. “Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth…these are one and the same fight.” – Ban Ki-moon
28. “The ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger.” – Fidel Castro
29. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – Dwight Eisenhower
30. “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
31. “Americans are blessed with great plenty; we are a generous people and we have a moral obligation to assist those who are suffering from poverty, disease, war and famine.” – Adam Schiff
32. “Why should some be miserably poor, so that others can be hugely rich? I speak on behalf of the children in the world who do not have a piece of bread. I speak on the behalf of the sick who have no medicine, of those whose rights to life and human dignity have been denied.” –Fidel Castro
Poverty quotes from Philosophers
33. “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” – Confucius
34. “It is also in the interests of the tyrant to make his subjects poor… the people are so occupied with their daily tasks that they have no time for plotting.” – Unknown
35. “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” –Plutarch
36. “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” – Artistotle
37. “It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau
38. “Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden of poverty alone and not load myself with misery and want.” – Martin Luther
39. It [prison] is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime.”- Howard Zinn
40. “The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.” – Basil the Great
Poverty quotes from Scientists
41. “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” – Charles Darwin
42. “If you’re poor, you may not know anyone who works in STEM.” – Shirley Malcolm
43. “Agricultural research has greatly increased the yields of important staple food crops, and for many people this has meant more food availability and trade opportunities. Yet many people in rural areas in developing countries still live in abject poverty.” – Michelle Adato
Poverty quotes from Poets
44. “Last night my teacher taught me a lesson on poverty. Having nothing and wanting nothing.” – Rumi
45. “Whatever possessions and objects of its desires the lower self may obtain, it hangs on to them, refusing to let them go out of greed for more, or out of fear of poverty and need.” – Rumi
46. “Poverty is not for the sake of hardship. No, it is there because nothing exists but Allah. Poverty unlocks the door – what a blessed key!” – Rumi
More Poverty quotes
47. “To me, a faith in Jesus Christ that is not aligned with the poor…it’s nothing.” – Bono
48. “Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.” – Muhammad Ali
49. “Poverty is a very complicated issue, but feeding a child isn’t.” – Jeff Bridges
50. “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” – Woody Allen
Thought Provoking Povert Quotes
51. “I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” ― Robert Kennedy
52. “Poverty has, in large cities, very different appearances; it is often concealed in splendour, and often in extravagance.” ― Samuel Johnson
53. “Security, the chief pretense of civilization, cannot exist where the worst of dangers, the danger of poverty, hangs over everyone’s head.” ― George Bernard Shaw
54. “Nothing is so much needed as a secure family life for a people seeking to rise out of poverty and backwardness.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
55. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” ― Nelson Mandela
56. “In Africa, we were around thousands of people who have seen a lot of poverty, but they were fun at the end of the day.” ― Angelina Jolie
57. “Most of the poverty and misery in the world is due to bad government, lack of democracy, weak states, internal strife, and so on.” ― George Soros
58. “At the most basic level, the key to ending extreme poverty is to enable the poorest of the poor to get their foot on the ladder of development.” ― Jeffrey Sachs
59. “You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.” ― Bill Cosby
60. “You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.” ― P. J. O’Rourke
What did you learn from these poverty quotes?
It was Bob Marley who once famously stated that “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”
Bob was highlighting the difference between experiencing economic challenges and having a “poor” state of mind.
He was also commenting on how the acquisition of monetary wealth does not necessarily equate to a person having a life “rich” in relationships and bonds with others.
It is one thing to experience not having access to the necessary needs and resources that money can afford us, it is another thing to believe that external items are the key to peace of mind.
Life is about balance, so what does it say about us as a species that we cannot seem to find the balance to make sure our citizens are not experiencing poverty?
Well, we are working on it.
It is exciting to know that people across the globe continue to strive to create a world where poverty is a thing of the past.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these poverty quotes and sayings?
Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?
Let us know in the comment section below.