The culture of poverty is, therefore, a self-perpetuating system.
The culture of poverty can also be defined as the resignation of people to coping with feelings of hopelessness in the realisation of the improbability of improvement of achievement of success in the prevailing values. People become more adapted and accepting of their marginal position in a highly stratified, individuated and capitalistic society (Lewis, 1966).
Lewis (1966) employs the use of questionnaires that explore sociology, anthropology and psychology of the hundred families that are under study. The questionnaires were centred family relationships, income and expenditure, personal and household possessions, friendship patterns, recreational patterns, politics, worldview, religion, health and medical history as well as openly ended interviews and psychological tests.
In the interest of analysing the culture of poverty in his home country, the study was conducted in Puerto Rico in a hundred slum dwelling families. As his understudy’s two Mexican assistants whose families had previously been studies were used. These would provide credible correlation on the experience of the culture of poverty.
Lewis (1966) asserts there are preconditions that must exist culture of poverty to persist. the culture of poverty is first set on a cash economy that has wage labour and production is essentially for wage gain. The high rate of unemployment and underemployment at low wages for the unskilled labourer is a second characteristic. Thirdly, the lack of political and economic organisation for low income population and fourth bilateral kinship all for the platform on which the culture is built.
There exists extensive stereotyping in the definition of the culture of poverty. Some experts attribute certain behaviour patterns of ethnic, national. or regional