Poverty and Poor Health Relations

Many factors affect a person’s health and wellbeing, including lifestyle and genetics. One of the fewer studies elements of health is the link between poverty and health. Mainly, poverty is linked to poor living conditions and lack of access to proper care or information about diseases and prevention. As a result, people living in poverty are more susceptible to infections, mental health illnesses, and noncommunicable diseases. The increase in the person’s income has a positive impact on health, while people with low income are more susceptible to illnesses and can have difficulty obtaining treatment.


Poverty affects a person’s health in several contexts, including the ability to access care and health-related information. Poverty can be defined as a lack of financial resources necessary to support one’s living needs. As a result, a person cannot care for the basic necessities he or she has, including food, hygiene, and healthcare, leading to severe issues with health. Infections are diseases caused by the presence of a foreign organism in an individual’s body. Noncommunicable diseases are a term used to describe a variety of illnesses that do not get transferred from one person to another over communication or other types of contact. Mental health problems are diseases that affect the way a person thinks and behaves. The researches that will be examined in this paper suggest that a link between the prevalence of infections, noncommunicable, and mental health diseases exists.

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1st Pro-Point

Poverty can cause a variety of mental health issues, affecting the overall wellbeing of an individual. According to Ljungqvist et al. (2016), there are two hypotheses that can explain the link between poverty and mental health. The first one is the social drift hypothesis, which views mental health as the main reason that results in financial issues. Alternatively, the social causation theory suggests that economic problems are linked to the prevalence of mental health issues. Mendenhall et al. (2017) state that financial problems are often associated with depression. Despite the existence of two different perspectives, it is evident that a link between mental health and a person’s income exists.

2nd Pro-Point

Low income is linked to the high prevalence of the infectious disease. In a study by Mendenhall et al. (2017) the prevalence of infectious diseases in an African low-income population was examined and the researchers found that at least 22% had HIV, and 5.5% had tuberculosis. This prevalence can be connected to poor hygiene, including insufficient knowledge about how to care for oneself. Additionally, the inability to access healthcare services due to financial issues may be linked to an increased prevalence of the condition. Therefore, there is a link between the number of infections per person and income.

3rd Pro-Point

Poverty results in a higher likelihood of developing a non-communicable disease. Moreover, the need to obtain healthcare services for non-communicable diseases and their comorbidities is often a struggle for poor populations (Nugen et al., 2018). Both financially well-off and struggling individuals may experience difficulties when having to pay their medical bills; however, for an impoverished population, this can result in a catastrophe, despite the availability of insurance. Therefore, obtaining proper care for noncommunicable diseases is more difficult for people struggling with poverty.


Overall, poverty affects different domains of a person’s health, including the higher probability of having mental health issues or developing an infectious or non-communicable disease. The high prevalence of tuberculosis and HIV are connected to inadequate hygiene and a lack of knowledge regarding safety measures and prevention tactics. Mental health is often correlated with financial problems, with one causing the other or vise versa. Finally, non-communicable diseases can be connected to poverty as healthcare services are often costly, even with insurance.


Ljungqvist, I., Topor, A., Forssell, H., Svensson, I., & Davidson, L. (2016). Money and mental illness: A study of the relationship between poverty and serious psychological problems. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(7), 842-850.

Mendenhall, E., Kohrt, B. A., Norris, S. A., Ndetei, D., & Prabhakaran, D. (2017). Non-communicable disease syndemics: Poverty, depression, and diabetes among low-income populations. The Lancet, 389(10072), 951-963.

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Nugent, R., Bertram, M. Y., Jan, S., Niessen, L. W., Sassi, F., Jamison, D. T., Pier E. G. & Beaglehole, R. (2018). Investing in non-communicable disease prevention and management to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. The Lancet, 391(10134), 2029-2035.

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