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  • Yes if we are talking about US

    Absolutely. Poverty is a choice in the US. If you are single and work full time at a minimum wage job, you will be earning above the poverty line. Same can be said for a couple. In fact, a couple where one works full time and one works half time will be earning above the poverty line and that stays true even if they have one child.

  • Work For It

    You certainly need to work for your achievements. Get good grades in school, study, find a sport, work at it, get a sports or academic scholarship. It might not be easy, but so many people, famous and otherwise, have been able to come out of poverty using purely their talents

  • Poverty is always a choice

    Undoubtedly poverty is a choice. No one comes with money nor he dies with it. The only thing matters is your will power. Today we have people who were poor but now they are rich. May it be any poor living in any part of the world he always has a choice to be rich. Just dream and chase it.

  • You lifestyle is your choice

    Poverty is a choice. If someone gets sick which throws the family into poverty, they could succumb and die. Or decide to fight the illness and to remain alive thus choosing the financial situation that decision has put them in. As dark as it may sound they could have forgone the impoverishment by dying or remaining ill.

    In other cases, people lack the mental strength, self discipline, self-motivation, intelligence, or foresight to see a problem and fix it, or plan ahead. Therefore they remain financially less than to those whose priority it is to have good finances. Due to the fact that some lack the mentality and foresight to reach new heights, they are also of character that does not take responsibility for their own actions. Blaming everything and everyone but themselves for their own problems without regard to the fact that the problems are solely their own. And if you look closely these people would probably take credit for someone else's hard work if they thought they could get away with it.

    Then there are those who live for social justice and this is the most flagrant case of poverty being a choice.

    The only people it may not be a choice for is the mentally ill. They rightfully can blame their parents' terrible genetics or their mothers' terrible habits during the pregnancy. And should be taken care of by the healthy and able members of their families.

  • People choose to remain poor.

    People remain poor by the actions they take. Whether you choose to have children you cannot afford or remain content with little, your lifestyle is a direct result of your actions and reactions throughout life. Some people are mentally lazy or lack the self discipline or self motivation to achieve great things. Other people are just not fit enough for living life and need others to make decisions for them (in which case welfare and obamacare).

  • The American Dream

    Get good grades in high school and if you do extensive scholarship research you can go to school for very little. Intern at a job and work long hours and work diligently and they'll keep you. Get a degree and move on up in the world. Don't get pregnant at 18 or drop out of high school.

  • Anyone qualifies for federal student loans.

    I feel like the people who are believe that people who are poor are a not to blame and blame their circumstances instead.... Have never lived in poverty. I grew up extremely poor. My mother was a meth addict and a prostitute. I chose that I didn't want to live my life like that so I went to college and I'm not rich by any means but I'm certainly not poor.

    If you don't like your situation, then fix it.

  • Poverty is a choice

    As a man thinketh in his heart so he is. Some people are always eager to blame others for their condition instead of rising up and face the challenge life has thrown at them. This set of people always have problems of time management, financial management and misplaced priority. It is not until you pass through the four walls of a school before you become a success. Most of the successful people in the world today are people born without a silver spoon and most attempted to get to school but ended up a drop out. e.g Albert Einstein, Bill Gate etc.

  • Some people do not rise up and face the challenge life has thrown at them.

    As a man thinketh in his heart so he is. Some people are always eager to blame others for their condition instead of rising up and face the challenge life has thrown at them. This set of people always have problems of time management, financial management and misplaced priorities. It is not until you pass through the four walls of a school before you become a success. Most of the successful people in the world today are people born without a silver spoon and most attempted to get to school but ended up a drop out. e.g Albert Einstein, Bill Gate etc.

  • Culture of dependency

    In the USA families arrive and better their lives with good hard work and accountability. However, as President once said, you need to pull yourself up by your boot straps. Other being disabled, a healthy and functional individual has all the opportunities to build a better life and not concede to dependency.

  • The American Dream is Dead

    Many people who think poverty is a choice are basing their reasoning off of singular circumstances. Whenever the statistics are examined it is clear that social mobility in the United States is a very unrealistic concept. It is difficult - or even impossible for people to move between classes. The rich stay rich, and the poor stay poor. It is also disrespectful to say that people who are poor are lazy and unmotivated. People who say "you can live off minimum wage," are NOT the ones living off minimum wage. Poor people work just as hard as the rich, usually at jobs that are more physically and mentally grueling in the service sector. Also, people are definitely born into conditions out of their own control - that do not foster economic success, and that is reality for millions of American's in the United States. That is not a choice.

  • Poverty is a choice?!

    Poverty is generally not a choice. A person would rather live with food and a place to live and not be on the streets. Be honest, would you want to live on the streets with no food? Generally speaking , poverty is not a choice. But then again, it depends on the circumstances of the situation and the person. Some could be too lazy to be bothered. Others could hate the way they are living in poverty but don't have the qualifications or the skills to change it, or they could just be lazy and complain about being in it. In a way poverty is a choice, but in a way it's not. It depends on the person, the circumstances and the place that they live. The way the world is today, some people feel its a choice and others feel its not.

  • Poverty is a circle

    Poverty begins with children. Children born into poverty aren't likely to be going to a good school, that's simply the way it works. Kids that are at a poor school with poor teachers and insanely high drug use, drop out, and teen pregnancy rates are not being set up for success. That's not to say a child can't over come their circumstances, but it's incredibly difficult. Even if they are to over come their childhoods, what are the chances that a child can go to college while working long hours because they're paying for it themselves do well? It's not impossible. But it is incredibly difficult. Those children born into it, they didn't choose to be impoverished. And those that make choices that lead to them being impoverished, often times, that's the only thing they know.

  • Yes and no. Poverty is the result of unfortunate circumstances

    No one chooses to be poor, but series of unfortunate events or poor choices people make can lead to financial destitute . For example, gambling addiction, getting into drugs, over-spending, or spurge on mistresses will make man poor. On the other hand, hard working folks who save can slowly walk out of the circle of poverty.

  • For many caught in poverty it is not a choice.

    It doesn't take long for one catastrophic illness to catpult a family into poverty. Nearly a guarantee to end up on poverty road if said illness strikes a child. Parents are famous for spending that last dime to help their child any way they can. A blue collar worker gives 100% and wakes up to a pink slip after 20 years (the slide is so slippery), blue collar worker gets hurt at work, after work comp runs out the slide to poverty can get steep fast. Examples are endless of truly amazing people caught up and tossed onto poverty road by no real fault of their own. Before you claim there is help out there do your research, budget cuts, this recession, ongoing national crises' long ago dried up funding to help folks work out of it, Help is not there. Intelligent, genuine enthusiasm to do what it takes means absolutely nothing with zero opportunity.

  • Poverty

    Generally, no one would choose to live in poverty. Some people however do not always make the best choices in life and find themselves living in poverty because of the choices they have made in their life. So many of these people are born into a poor family and cannot find a way out. They do not choose this for themselves.

  • Poverty is not a choice.

    Poverty is generally not a choice. The majority of people in poverty were born into poverty and were not given adequate opportunities to rise out of poverty. These people don't know any other way of life. Then there are the people that are in poverty as a result of medical emergencies and other emergencies.

  • Absolutely Not

    No, poverty is not a choice. Although some people may make choices that lead to poverty the majority of poor people were dealt a crummy hand. They either grew up in poverty, suffer from mental illness, or have setbacks that make it difficult for them to get ahead. It is easy for someone who grew up in a nice stable family and had a good education to get rich than someone who grew up in the ghetto to a dysfunctional family.

  • Some don't even have the opportunity to choose.

    Some people choose to live in poverty, others were born into it, and some even unfortunately eventually came to poverty. Personally I know people who live on the bare minimum, both parent work for minimum wage and the children don’t get the opportunity to even visit a museum or go to a park. The people who are born into poverty usually have no hope for life to change, being raised in poor conditions can cause hope to no longer exist in there minds. The people who choose to live in poverty that i know work all day to provide bare minimum. They eventually give up and live off the government because trying so hard to provide was useless.

  • How about people born in 3rd world countries? How do they access education to connect to better opportunities?

    In some countries there are no places for higher education. If you are born int a country with none of these paces, and a family with no money ,and there are no jobs with decent pay, in your area, how are you going to find/ get money to travel to places that offer education / jobs for better pay?


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Anonymous says2013-05-17T11:06:15.077
Yes, it is a choice.

In many countries around the world I would be arguing the opposite. However in this country, I believe and have experienced poverty as a choice. There are different types of poverty, as someone already pointed out, a single death in a family, or serious illness can force a family who was very functional into poverty that is desperately hard to recover from. This usually results in bankruptcy. In these situations the members of the family have choices, over the course of seven years their credit is re-built, and if they make smart choices regarding their spending and lifestyle, stability can be reached. If there are kids in the family and college is approaching, providing that child wants to go to school there are numerous ways to do so- even without help from parents/guardians. If correct FAFSA forms are filled, the process is now streamlined online and scholarships are applied for, just about anyone can find a way to make higher education possible. In situational poverty you are often looking at people who are highly motivated to turn their lives around and regain what they once had.
Generational poverty is a little different. Generational poverty exists when multiple generations of one family have been born into poverty. This can also be called a culture of poverty. In these circumstances you will often see parents who do not value education for their children, are dependent on the government/state for aid and have an attitude of "being owed" a living. Children coming from this background are at a much higher risk of not graduating from high school and therefore not going on to post secondary education. However even in this situation, it is still a choice. True getting "out of poverty" can be very difficult, but it is doable if an individual is willing to put the time, effort and energy into bettering themselves.

If you live in India and were born in the slums, the chance of you changing your luck are slim to none, but in this country if you want to change, if you want to succeed, you can. The problem is people's attitudes, it can be very addicting to consider your self a victim of circumstance and poverty. My question to those of you who say poverty is not a choice: when was the last time you asked someone in poverty what they had tried to do to fix the situation? Often you will hear many short term answers that are really excuses- it is always someone's fault- never theirs. Getting out of poverty is difficult and takes years- but it is doable for those who refuse to be victims and who decide to take control of their own lives instead of demanding everyone else take care of them.
babybird722 says2014-01-18T22:21:46.880
While the answers the poor provide for their poverty might appear to be excuses to you, to those who live in poverty those answers are defense mechanisms, the way their ego deals with the daily brutal assault on their spirit. Rationalizing is our ego’s method for dealing with reality and the reality for some living here in America is very different from the reality of others. Standing on the outside, looking in, it is easy to judge the actions of others and determine which decisions they made led to their current circumstances. Life however is not that simple.

We can make a decision in haste that we cannot change even five minutes later. We can claim the error, but we cannot change the consequences. Yet some make the exact same decision, never accept responsibility for their actions, and yet do not suffer any consequences for those decisions. It is well known that George W Bush was an alcoholic and drug user who was arrested for cocaine possession and driving under the influence... And stealing. Bush acknowledged that he did not change until he was 40 years old. Yet he became a President of the United States. Some America's make minor mistakes at 17 and 18 that follow them their entire lives. It does not matter how hard they try, they are not given a second chance. Those born in the wrong zip code in America have as much chance of making it out of poverty as someone born in India.

Poverty is a choice, but not an individual choice. In America, not only do we accept poverty but we facilitate it and blame those who are caught in the poverty trap. We stack the deck against them and ridicule them because they misplay the losing hand they were dealt. Some of our citizens receive life sentences for their crimes at 16 and some, suffering from affluenza get a free pass. We treat some of our addicted to twenty year prison sentences but others receive a revolving door of medical treatment their entire lives.

In this country, we have a lot to say about poor women who have children out of wedlock. Yet we make it difficult for them to obtain either birth control or abortions. We look down our nose at them, judging. Never saying but believing that they should simply not have sex because they are poor. Those who are poor probably have far less sex than those with money, because they must live with the consequences of their sexual acts, while those with money can buy their way out of the consequences of their non-marital encounters.

It is absolutely untrue that poor parents do not value education. Poor parents who likely are not well educated, do not know how to help their child receive a good education. They do not know how to help their children choose a viable career path or a legitimate school. They do not know how to help their child overcome the barriers to college entry. They do not know how to help their child stay in school and graduate from college. Sadly, we do little in this country to help them. As a matter of fact, some college counselors encourage first generation college students to drop out of college and find employment as the solution to any problem the student might face in school. Many of our poor carry thousands of dollars of student loan debt from parasitical for-profit colleges that filed bankruptcy before the student graduated or that provided substandard education or worthless credentials.

Rational thinkers understand that education is not the solution to poverty. Not unless we want to pay our cashiers and our fast-food workers six figure salaries. Our dim view of people who work blue-collar jobs is a serious problem in this country and a problem that has become epidemic in the past twenty years. It is our intolerance toward people who live a lifestyle different from the one we ourselves choose that contributes more toward poverty in this country than any other poverty-causing factor. Our attitude prevents us from taking the action needed to eliminate poverty.

Once upon a time, American was not nearly as punitive as we are currently. “The ultimate measure of a [Country] is not where [it] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where [it] stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Until Americans stop blaming the poor, examine with an honest heart the reasons for poverty, and make a genuine effort to eliminate the causes, we will always find ourselves paying premium prices for palliative approaches. Our greatest poverty in America is our poverty of empathy and our escalating poverty of common sense.