1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The statistical analysis of poverty as a disease in Nigeria is a project of interest that is relevant to be discussed, checked, and if possible enhance the complete eradication of poverty in a society like Nigeria. The level of poverty in Nigeria has been massive, pervasive, and chronic, engulfing a large proportion of the society. According to the Federal Office of statistics [Socio-Economic profile of Nigeria (1996], which stated that though, the concern about poverty in Nigeria has been very tremendous, but there is yet to be a significant and positive change in the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Resulting from large scale poverty, human conditions have greatly deteriorated, real disposable incomes have dwindled, while malnutrition rates are on the increase in Nigeria. Resulting from the rate of population growth which has outstripped the rate of food production and the rate of increase in the social services, the quality of nutrition as well as of educational and health services has deteriorated a great deal.
The concern for poverty is therefore two dimensional. Overtime, a sizeable reduction in poverty is important, both in its own right, and as a first step to providing the means for the self-improvement of the most disadvantaged group in the society. If this task can be attained, there is a tendency of reducing by half, between 1992 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day. (Federal office of statistics (2005); Poverty profile for Nigeria, March 2005).
The policies most likely to achieve these objectives are those that stimulate growth and employment, and in doing so, provide incomes for the poor, and use some of the resources generated to make adequate social provisions for the people who cannot benefit directly from rising incomes. However, according to Ahmad and Hemming (1991), the macro economic stabilization and structural adjustment policies that are necessary for growth may have adverse effect on the poor people in the short run. To avoid further impoverishment of the majority of the population, therefore, there is need to put in place policies that will protect the poor from the immediate consequences of adjustment.
As such, policies and programmes aimed at poverty reduction need to address basic issues about the nature and magnitude of poverty as a disease in Nigeria. But, since I will be using the southsouth geopolitical zone of Nigeria as my case study, it will be most appropriate to premise the discussion of the project on the zone. Regardless of the fact that the southsouth geopolitical zone of Nigeria is an oil producing zone and serves as a source of wealth to Nigeria, the level of poverty in the zone is still as alarming as it is in the other zones of the country. Though, being the second zone with the lowest poverty incidence with 58.2% in 1996, and 35.1% in 2004, poverty as a disease is still evident, and endemic in the zone, particularly in the rural areas of the zone, and, this is often due to the mismanagement of the zone’s share of allocated revenue from the Federal Government’s Revenue by the leaders in charge of the affairs of the southsouth geopolitical zone.
1.2 RATIONAL FOR THE STUDY
One of the rational for this project is to know the level of poverty, and to address the issues of poverty as they relate to the human, ad socioeconomic development in the southsouth geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Another rational for the study is to assess the existing poverty programmes in the southsouth zone of Nigeria with a view to suggesting improvements. Examples of such programmes are: National poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP); National Economic Empowerment, and Development Strategy (NEEDS); Small, and Medium Scale Investment Equity Insurance Scheme (SMIEIS); among others.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
One of the aims and objectives of the study is to reduce by half, between 1992 and 2015, the proportion of people in the zone whose income is less than one dollar a day. This aim can only be achieved through the creation of employment opportunities, income generating programmes, and skill acquisition programmes by the Government, inorder to improve the living conditions of the people. Specific objectives include;
i. To improve the health services standard in the zone, inorder to reduce: the spread of diseases, and the death rate, and consequently, increase the life expectancy of the people in the zone.
ii. Provision of well-equipped social infrastructure interms of health facilities in strategic areas throughout the zone, as well as ensuring that drugs, and treatment are readily available, and affordable for the poor masses in the zone.
iii. To improve the Educational Standard in the zone, inorder to reduce the level of illiteracy; and consequently, increase the level of literacy among the people in the southsouth geopolitical zone of Nigeria. This task can be achieved by the Government through the provision of social infrastructures like schools for all ages, which would as well be well-equipped with the appropriate facilities and trained personnels (teachers) that will be in charge.
Above all, the aims and objectives that is the most paramount is the provision of the basic necessities of life by the Government. These basic necessities include items such as: food, clothing, shelter, transportation, social amenities like pipeborne water, good roads, Health and Education services, among others, in order to improve the poor standard of living of the people. All these mentioned aims and objectives can be achieved by the Government through the formulation of certain programmes and policies that would stimulate growth, employment, skill acquisition, and income generating opportunities, among others.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The significance of the study: The statistical analysis of poverty as a disease in Nigeria (a case study of the southsouth geopolitical zone of Nigeria) is a project that will be able to investigate, and analyse how pervasive, and chronic poverty is in Nigeria, and particularly, in the southsouth geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It will also be able to investigate the causes of poverty as a disease in Nigeria and the remedial actions that could be taken to be able to reduce or eradicate poverty in the country.
The findings from this investigation will also enable the Government to formulate suitable policies and programmes that would address the issues of poverty and how they relate to the human, and socioeconomic development. This would consequently, provide a meaningful and at least average standard of living for the masses, especially the poor masses in the southsouth zone, and in the country as a whole.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Research hypothesis is defined as a conjecture or supposition that motivates a research. Hence, the research hypothesis of this project are listed in the next subchapter.
1.6 HYPOTHESIS OF STUDY
The general hypothesis for this project are the issues of poverty and reasons surrounding the situation of poverty as a disease which has engulfed every strata of the Nigerian society over the years. For the purpose of this project the following areas which address the issues of poverty as they relate to human development will be critically examined in the course of the research.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The scope involved in this study included laborious ones like the conducting of census on a target population, for example: the core poor, moderately poor, and the Non-poor and the administering of questionnaires to collect microhousehold data as related to poverty levels in the zone, and the use of suitable statistical techniques for analyzing the collected data, by scholarly statisticians, inorder to provide reliable results that are valid and objective in nature. Another scope involved, included the research made from books that highlighted instances of poverty in certain areas of the zone.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
POVERTY: According to the Nigeria Millennium Development Goals (2005 report). This is defined as a situation that is essentially about human deprivation. Hence, it is about lack or limited access to essential capabilities that could facilitate a long and healthy life, becoming more knowledgeable, maintaining an adequate standard of living, and participating meaningfully in decisions that affects one’s life.
ABSOLUTE POVERTY: This is defined as the lack of resources to consume certain bundle of goods and services. Such a bundle of goods and services may contain what could be considered an objective minimum which include the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing, among others (Source: Federal Office of Statistics (FOS): [Socioeconomic profile of Nigeria (1996].
RELATIVE POVERTY: According to the Federal Office of statistics: [Socioeconomic profile of Nigeria (1996)], this is defined with respect to living standards that prevail in a particular society. Hence an advantage of relative poverty line is that it reflects changing perception of acceptable minimum living standards. Thus, while electricity, pipe borne water, indoor sanitation, are considered essential in very rich societies, they may not be so in poorer ones.
POVERTY LINE: According to the Federal Office of statistics: [Socioeconomic profile of Nigeria. (1996)], Poverty line is defined as a proportion usually fifty percent (50%) of average income.
MEASURES OF POVERTY: As it is defined by the Federal Office of statistics: [socioeconomic profile of Nigeria. (1996)], this is the measure by which poverty levels in a society can be quantified and classified. There are basically two common measures of poverty and they are headcount ratio and poverty gap respectively.
HEADCOUNT RATIO: According to Baridhan (1973), and Ahluwalia (1976), this is defined as the ratio of individuals or households whose income fall below the poverty line.
POVERTY GAP: This is a traditional measure of poverty which measures the average deviation of the incomes of the poor from the poverty line.
SOCIOECONOMIC INDICATORS: These are defined as what is said to constitute the means or measure or pointer for assessing an event, be it social, economic or demography. There are mainly two types of socioeconomic indicators, and they are social indicators and economic indicators.
SOCIAL INDICATORS: Are defined as a construct based on observations and usually quantitative ones, that tells something about aspects of social life of interest or about changes taking place in that aspect of social life. Examples are: Qualitative education, proper medical care, Good an convenient standard of living, among others.
ECONOMIC INDICATORS: Are defined as derived quantities obtained in respect of economic statistics.
DISEASE: Is defined as an unhealthy condition of the “mind or body” the words in quotes could be the social or economic conditions of a society.
STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Is defined as the scientific study, collection, compilation, analysis, presentation and graphical representation of a given set of data.
STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF POVERTY AS A DISEASE: This is defined as the statistical analysis of the measures of human deprivation that has as a disease engulfed the socioeconomic system, of a society, and as a result has hindered human development and socioeconomic development of the society.
CAUSES OF POVERTY: This is defined as the socioeconomic vices in a society, that causes or leads to lack of, or inadequate access to the basic necessities of life to an individual, or in a household or a society as a whole.
POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES: According to the Nigeria Millennium Development Goals (2005 report) this is defined as programmes that have been formulated with certain policies backing them by the Government, inorder to reduce the level of poverty or completely eradicate poverty in a society like Nigeria. Examples of such programmes are: National Poverty Eradication programme (NAPEP), National economic empowerment, and development strategy (NEEDS), small and medium scale investment equity insurance scheme (SMIEIS), among others.
CONSTRAINTS TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES: These are defined as certain factors that were not checked thoroughly by the Government before the formulation of the policies and programmes of some of the poverty alleviation programmes. This as a result has caused the ineffectiveness, and inefficiency of the poverty alleviation programmes. Examples of such factors include: poor coordination of programmes, lack of consistent policy in governance, failure to involve the beneficiaries at both the conception and implementation stages of the programmes, among others.
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