Here's a look at what it's like to be poor in America, as told by Reddit users

Compiled by Amy McDonald, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Sun, Aug. 3, 2014, 5:30 a.m. MDT

 Boy looks out of the window through a lattice

Boy looks out of the window through a lattice

(AlbinaTiplyashina, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Fifteen percent of Americans are living in poverty, and 21 percent of American children live in poverty. One in every 6 Americans is hungry, and 6 percent of the country is unemployed. Poverty statistics can look grim, but what does poverty actually look like?

Reddit user Luizeef asked, "What memory from your childhood makes you think 'Wow, we were poor'?" More than 5,000 people responded on the social networking site, sharing memories from childhood of evidences of their poverty.

"The responses show us more about low-income living than any state could," Huffington Post's Eleanor Goldberg writes.

Here's what some of the responses said:

"Realizing that we were living in my aunt's backyard, in a tent, and not camping for three months," one user wrote.

"Sitting next to the window in my room so I could read by the streetlights when our power was shut off," a user remembered.

"My friend in third grade told me I was poor. I said, 'No man, you're rich.' He said, 'No. I'm middle-class. You're poor.'"

And statements from several users showed how simple meals can reflect poverty: "Ketchup sandwiches," "butter sandwiches," and "mayonnaise sandwiches," they wrote.

"I remember begging to go to McDonald's, where I would have a Happy Meal and my parents would have nothing and watch me eat. I didn't realize it at the time, but they couldn't afford to order a meal for themselves," one user wrote.


Twitter | @amymcdonald89

1. My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT,
Aug. 3, 2014

There is no shame in being poor without money or a job. I was 1 of 7 children and I don't ever remember poor being used in the community or government or social circles or the school systems.

There is no shame or stigma with being poor and you don't go hungry and you don't go without. We did not have any class types of distinctions until government decided to create them to please those who didn't have friends.

We were a family that did not have, a car, a TV, or radio or phone, or health insurance but we were not poor. We were rich in what matters, family, friends, schools, food, and independence and the choice to become better people without government telling us what our social status should be. The only thing we knew or understood is that if we wanted a better way of life we had to work and earn and save our pennies to acquire them. Working for $.90 cents and hour was fair pay. Eduction was IQ based to propel the achievers into statesmen and leaders or become wealthy.

Equality was not a law, it was somehting you achieved by individuals abilities.

2. george of the jungle
goshen, UT,
Aug. 3, 2014

Making 10 cents more than the guidelines to qualify for any help.

3. Mountanman
Hayden, ID,
Aug. 3, 2014

We don't help the poor by giving them entitlements! It only creates dependency and multigenerational welfare recipients! People have to lift themselves out of poverty. We have given the poor in this country some $50-$75 trillion in the last 50 years and the "poverty" rate has not changed even one percentage! Poverty is solved by providing poor people opportunity; jobs, education and hope with which they lift THEMSELVES out of poverty. As a missionary to a very, very poor country, I helped administer the church's perpetual education fund and witnessed with my own eyes how that simple, but tremendously effective program has done more to provide people a way out of poverty than all the entitlement social programs in the world! Been there, done that!

4. Million
Bluffdale, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Raising my four children in so-called poverty made them better citizens and they ended up all going to college and becoming very successful. I believe having lived in a small home brought us closer together and camping and fishing vacations were better for our family bonds than eating at McDonalds and wearing Nikes and having cable TV.