Poverty traps: a short film about how people in rural Appalachia see poverty

Poverty is often described as a ‘trap’. How does this reflect the perception of people who live with poverty in their everyday lives?

Researchers often use the words ‘poverty trap’ for contexts where systems keep feeding back in a way that maintains a cycle of poverty. It’s not just about a lack of money: poverty can be about environmental, financial, health, or social aspects of an individual’s life, or the life of a community.

For researchers and their partners who are seeking to breaking the cycle of poverty, understanding ‘poverty traps’ is a very important step in developing transformative strategies and action. But does the language of ‘poverty traps’ reflect how people in poverty really feel?

This short film explores what people in Eastern Kentucky living with poverty think of the idea of ‘poverty traps’, and how they see their own lives. It was commissioned by researchers in the STEPS North America Hub and made by Appalshop, a media, arts, and education centre in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in the heart of the southern Appalachian region of the United States.

Watch on YouTube