"Why do you think people are poor?"

A pedestrian walks past a homeless woman securing her belongings onto a shopping cart along a street in downtown Los Angeles, California, on January 8, 2014. Poverty in the world's largest economy remains far from being eradicated fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty in America in his first State of the Union address on this date in 1964.

Fifteen percent of Americans live in poverty. That official rate hasn’t dropped much since 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty. On this, the anniversary of that declaration, we asked people across the country why they think people live in poverty.

Rose Bertucci from Scottsdale, Ariz., says that she’s all for helping others get out of poverty, but personal responsibility is a big factor is whether or not someone is poor.

Shirley Franklin, former mayor of Atlanta, says that some people are poor through no fault of their own.

Others seemed to think that the poverty has to do with low expectations. Those in poverty have low expectations of their government and the government has low expectations of people living in poverty.

Gwen Sealy Singer from New York says it’s all relevant to where you live.

We asked the question on Twitter as well.  Here is what you told us:

About the author

John Ketchum is an assistant producer for Marketplace’s wealth & poverty desk.


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