The study highlights the multiple dimensions of human needs that range from the most essential life sustaining requirements like a secure food and water supply to health, education, and sanitation, as well as social, cultural and spiritual elements that are not so easily distinguished. The poor then cannot be identified by insufficient income alone, but rather by circumstances such as unemployment, illiteracy, malnutrition, poor health, sub-standard housing, chronic unemployment, landlessness, etc. Accordingly, UNICEF (2005) notes that the circumstances of poverty can vary greatly by geographic location as economic development, health and education tend to be concentrated in specific urban sectors. The result is that economic, social, and legislative processes harden social positions and increase disparities among the rural poor, ethnic minorities and women.
World Bank researchers de Ferranti and others (2004) explore the historical roots of poverty. This study points out the long-term historical consequences of colonial imperialism (unequal access to land, education and political rights) as the primary contributing factors to the inequality and poverty experienced today. Here, it is determined that high inequality greatly inhibits economic development from reducing poverty, while education is central to creating economic opportunities, raising one's social status and increasing political influence. The study concludes that it is possible to "break with history" through equal access to basic education in conjunction with other factors such as more inclusive labor institutions and improved social protection.
Another World Bank study by Perry et al (2006) acknowledges and expands on de Ferranti's findings by explaining the rebounding effects of poverty. The study notes...
This paper approves that some of the characteristics of poor families may affect their performance in school. Components of family life such as the highest level of educational attainment by the parents and the number of parents available for child rearing are examples. There are other family issues that may not occur to people who are not poor, or closely associated with people who are poor.
This essay makes a conclusion that following the establishment of a link between poverty and education, focusing on the extent to which education contributes to poverty alleviation, the research examined the educational opportunities available to poor children. Acknowledging the fact that education, as Page and Simmons assert, has the potential to disrupt the generational poverty cycle, the research found that this potential is rarely realized. The reason is that children from poor families do not have access to quality education and, indeed, are rarely afforded the educational opportunities which children from middle class or affluent families enjoy. Indeed, as the research argued, numerous poverty-related factors function as challenges to the effective, quality schooling needed for escape from the poverty trap. Thus, even though education can instigate socio-economic mobility and ensure that poverty is not passed from one generation to the next, the deleterious effect of poverty on education ensures the continuation of generational poverty.