The main causes of poverty in the 16th century

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  • The main causes of poverty in the 16th century
    • Rising inflation
      • Wages could not keep up with rising prices, especially food prices
    • Changes in farming methods
      • Farmers switched from growing crops to keeping sheep; they enclosed common lands and employed fewer labourers
    • Rising population
      • A sharp rise in population from 2.7 million in the 1540s to 4.1 million by 1601 caused more demand for food, clothes, housing and jobs
    • Rack-renting
      • Sharp increases in rents meant that many tenants farmers were unable to pay the higher rents and were evicted
    • Bad harvests
      • Bad harvest, especially in 1556, 1596 and 1597, caused a sharp rise in food prices and increased the level of starvation
    • Rural depopulation
    • Dissolution of the monasteries
      • This caused a rise in unemploymen-t among monks, servants labourers and took away the vital role of charity relief
    • Changes in the cloth industry


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