Poverty is a global issue. There are people in every country with a standard of living that is significantly lower than that of others. Nevertheless, the absolute number of people living in poverty has decreased since 1990, especially in the poorest countries in the world. Therefore, there is reason to hope that further poverty reduction can occur. The Introduction outlines the pervasiveness and trends in poverty around the world; the many different causes of poverty that embed themselves in social, political, economic, educational, and technological processes, which affect all of us from birth to death; and considers why poverty matters. Overall, the economy suffers if systematic public policy does not address poverty.