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What is YOUR defintion of poor?

I am just curious after all the various discussions going on in regards to the poor in the U.S. and the poor in other countries. If you were to tell someone "I am poor" what would that mean? Do you have running water, electricity, are you bundled up or do you have your heat on, are you online at home, if you wanted to eat something could you find SOMETHING to eat (maybe not gourmet food but something to make you no longer hungry), when you go to bed do you HAVE a bed, do your children have toys, do you have a toilet in your home, do you have toilet paper, do you have cable and if you don't do you have a TV and movies to watch? What don't you have that makes you poor? This country's general definition of poor and the REAL definition of poor are NOT the same!


Asked by Anonymous at 4:08 PM on Jan. 14, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

This question is closed.
Answers (44)
  • My childhood. I grew up in India on the streets. We squatted in the streets to go to the bathroom. My bed from birth until 15 was a cardboard box. We had to beg for food most of the time and often went to be hungry. I am only 32 but never had a TV, phone, house, running water, electricity or many things poor Americans have until I was in my 20s and found a way to come here for school.  I married an American and am now a citizen and have a wonderful job.  If I lost that job and my husband lost his and we lived poor in America it would still be nothing like what I experienced in India.  Americans have no clue what real poverty is.  They should be glad for that. 


    Answer by Anonymous at 4:29 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Poor - no place to live, no running water or sewer system. No modern necessities (internet,cell phone TV...)


    Answer by Anonymous at 4:16 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Not being able to acquire the basic means to live. Little or no access to food, drink, shelter.

    Answer by BaisMom at 4:17 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Little or no access to the basic needs; food, drink, shelter, clothing.

    Poor does NOT mean having internet, a cell phone, a place to live. It doesn't even mean being homeless, but getting money from stranger on the street corner to buy booze and cigarettes. Most people in this country have access to help, if they want it. There are food banks, there are private and religious charities, there is PA, there are shelters for the homeless. The 'poor' here do not live in poverty.


    Answer by Anonymous at 4:25 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • I've experienced poor with my mom and dad we didnt have food to eat and had to live on the streets.

    Answer by MarGeee at 4:26 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • IMO....poor means not being able to put food on the table, not having modern conveniences (cell phones, cable/satellite, TV's, or a car), not being able to buy new clothes/shoes, not owning your own home/condominium, and not being able to provide basic necessities for yourself or your family on your own (existing/depending solely on government assistance to get by).

    If you have a car, cell phone, cable, flat screen TV, and collect welfare (as a handout, not a hand up), then you're not poor, you just have your priorities mixed up!

    Like my grandmother would say:

    Paying your mortgage comes first,
    Paying your utilities (electricity, heat, water) comes second,
    Buying groceries comes third,
    Buying clothes comes fourth,
    And everything else you NEED or WANT comes after that!

    Answer by LoriKeet at 4:39 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Poor is having not enough money to get what is needed, food, clothes, sometimes shelter etc. I'm always glad to come here and see all these insightful posts about how great people in this country have it. The vast majority live from paycheck to paycheck, those lucky enough to be working, and still have to scrounge for what their children need and want and give all their own needs and wants.

    You people are confusing poor with destitute. This American does know what it's like to suffer and go without. It's made me handle my money a hell of a lot better than most of you who have it apparently fall out of your backsides.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:50 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Poor= no place to live or on the verge of losing it, no cable, no computers, games systems etc (because you should pawn those and would if youre that broke), no car or money for gas, no anything extra. Thats poor to me. Yes I know other countries have other ways to coming up with the poor and have less then we do in our country, but in this country (the only one I can relate to because Im from here) the above is what I consider poor.

    Answer by gemgem at 4:54 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • I lived below the poverty level in the U.S. for a few years, and I didn't need any public assistance even then. I think to really be poor you have to live at that level or lower for years. I had a hard time paying my bills and had to be a very frugal grocery shopper, but I had plenty of "stuff" I had acquired in better times - my "stuff" meant I had wealth that I could sell for cash if I had to. I might have worried about not buying Christmas gifts or getting my electricity shut off, but I never worried that I literally wouldn't have anything to eat, wouldn't anywhere to sleep, or wouldn't have any clothes to wear. So, I can't say I've ever really been poor.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:55 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Poor is living in the streets.


    Answer by Anonymous at 4:57 PM on Jan. 14, 2010