I've traveled the world over many times, lived in 6 countries. I've seen great riches and great poverty. Those that are of ill health (mentally & physically) face an uphill battle out of poverty. Those who are beaten down by crime or child abuse also have the cards stacked against them. But saying that, I've noted that many many "poor" American are poor because they want instant gratification vs saving and putting in the work before hand. Everyone seems so "entitled" anymore. If instead you work hard, save, go to school and don't buy things you can't afford...you have a very good chance to make it to middle income. I've seen many many Asian families that own a small shop, live in the back with kids and grandparents, eventually do very very well. Kids go on to prestige Universities. All because they grinded it out.