poverty trap

(noun) A scenario created when low-income individuals or families living in poverty, lose welfare or tax benefits when they secure employment or a higher salary, resulting in an overall worse economic condition because of the loss of their benefits.

Example: John had a full-time job in a developing industry.  John was not able to afford childcare for his two pre-school children while he was at work. John was forced to switch to part-time employment that allowed him to care of his children with additional help from welfare. Because John had to leave his full-time job he loses benefits beyond pay such as future advancement opportunities, insurance,  and a pension.

Audio Pronunciation: (pov·er·ty trap)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: poverty traps
  • The poverty trap is a disincentive to work or improve a person’s current socioeconomic status.

Additional Information:

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Works Consulted

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

How to Cite the Definition of Poverty Trap

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “poverty trap.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 20, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/poverty-trap/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

poverty trap. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/poverty-trap/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “poverty trap.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/poverty-trap/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“poverty trap.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 20 May. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/poverty-trap/>.