Poverty is not having enough material possessions or income for a person's needs. Poverty may include social, economic, and political elements.
Absolute poverty is the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. The threshold at which absolute poverty is defined is always about the same, independent of the person's permanent location or era.
On the other hand, relative poverty occurs when a person cannot meet a minimum level of living standards, compared to others in the same time and place. Therefore, the threshold at which relative poverty is defined varies from one country to another, or from one society to another. For example, a person who cannot afford housing better than a small tent in an open field would be said to live in relative poverty if almost everyone else in that area lives in modern brick homes, but not if everyone else also lives in small tents in open fields.
Governments and non-governmental organizations try to reduce poverty. Providing basic needs to people who are unable to earn a sufficient income can be hampered by constraints on government's ability to deliver services, such as corruption, tax avoidance, debt and loan conditionalities and by the brain drain of health care and educational professionals. Strategies of increasing income to make basic needs more affordable typically include welfare, economic freedoms and providing financial services.