Impoverishment is the state or fact of being extremely poor. A neighborhood's impoverishment is sometimes obvious from its many abandoned buildings.
You can use the noun impoverishment to mean "poverty," and also the act of forcing someone into poverty. A despotic government's impoverishment of its own people can be a way to control the citizens. A situation can also cause impoverishment, such as a serious illness and lack of health insurance. The verb impoverish, or "make poor," comes from the Old French empoverir, "to make poor," from povre, "poor."