What constitutes poverty in Myanmar? The social work appraisal

Henry Ngun Ceu Thang, Nguyen Thi Tung Uyen, Ndungi wa Mungai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper briefly describes the general poverty situation in Myanmar, factors that partly constitute poverty in Myanmar, and social work and poverty in Myanmar. Myanmar with a population of over 60 million and at 676,578 km2 (Burma) is the largest country of mainland Southeast Asian Region, and second largest overall in size after Indonesia. It is a country that is rich in natural resources including precious stones, oil, and natural gas,however, Myanmar is still one of the poorest countries and majority of its citizens are still living in poverty and do not enjoy the benefit of their rich natural resources even under the newly introduced political reforms. There are differences in urban and rural poverty. The urban people have more money than the rural people but rural people on subsistence agriculture have more food but no hard cash. It is argued in this paper that poverty in Myanmar is mainly caused by the mismanagement of resources and inefficiency of governance,corruption and dishonesty in resource allocations,insecurities of social and economic conditions to the people.The 2008 Myanmar Constitution describes the protection and rights of the citizens for property ownership, education and health. The newly adopted pro-market reforms have led to cases of land seizures from farmers for mining and industrial development, decline in wages in real terms for factory workers with resultant social problems in many areas in the country. The challenge for the future leaders and policy makers is whether it is the constitution that needs to be changed or improved or improve the enforcement of the current one to improve the poverty situation for the people of Myanmar.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
Journalinternational journal of social work and human services practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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