The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

The lottery of birth

1.2.1 Poverty

Poverty remains the biggest threat to maternal and infant well-being across low, middle and high income countries alike.

Poverty is most commonly discussed either in terms of ‘absolute poverty’ (such as the widely used ‘one dollar a day’ threshold for survival) which is used most commonly with regard to low income countries, or ‘relative poverty’, which compares people on a distribution of resources and defines poverty as falling below the median or average income for their economy (most commonly used when focusing on middle and high income countries).

Described image
Figure 4

The most commonly used measurement of income inequality is the Gini co-efficient. This is an indicator of inequality across the whole of society rather than, say, comparing the richest 10 per cent with the poorest 10 per cent which is another way to look at inequality. The Gini coefficient represents the extent of income or wealth that must change hands to lead to greater equality. The Gini range is from 0 to 100 with the highest figures indicating the highest levels of inequality. So the Gini coefficient measures the extent to which income or wealth differs from perfect equality. It takes a value of 0 (perfect equality) to 100 (most extreme inequality).

In the next section, you will find out what we mean by the lottery of birth as we look at being born rich and being born poor, at health and at education, all of which profoundly affect your chances in life.

OUFL_21

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus