20 Common Traits and Behaviors Clearly Showing People Are in the Lower Class

People who are stuck in poverty often have trouble getting quality education and medical care. They also need help with making, saving, and investing money. However, beyond these, some habits or lifestyle choices make it obvious whether a person is of a high social standing or not. If we understand these indications better, we can be more caring and make the appropriate changes to make society fairer and more accepting of everyone, regardless of their social status.

They Lack Financial Stability and Security

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Those who live paycheck to paycheck usually belong to lower social classes. These people typically worry about money and bills, especially since they have no financial cushion in an emergency. After all, everyone needs emergency funds to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

They Are Unable to Access Credit or Loans

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People who don’t have a good spending record or good track record with banks will undoubtedly find it hard to get loans or access their credits. After all, those who belong to lower socio-economic classes usually live paycheck to paycheck, and there’s a high chance they’ve failed to pay bills on time. This will then lead to them having bad credit. Investopedia shares, “Bad credit can be a major roadblock, especially if you hope to borrow money to purchase a home or a car.”

They Have High Debt-To-Income Ratios

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Everyone needs to save a big chunk of their income to live a comfortable life in the future. However, this is sadly not as doable for people from the lower class. The 50/30/20 budget rule suggests that the most optimal route is for people to use 50% of their after-tax income on needs and obligations; then, 30% should be spent on wants, while only 20% should be distributed for savings and debt repayment. Sadly, almost half of Americans with debt spend up to 50% of their monthly income trying to repay the money.

They Live in Multi-Generational Households

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Housing is one of the most expensive things a person needs to invest in. However, it isn’t the top priority for most people in the lower class. Because of this, we see many multi-generational households, wherein extended family lives under one roof to save money.

Second-Hand Shopping Is Their Go-to

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There are many good deals online when it comes to shopping. However, for people in the lower class, nothing beats thrift shopping, as they get quality items for a very low price. Sadly, because of the thrift shopping trend, lower-class people suffer because people with more disposable income purchase things they could have bought—just for the “aesthetic.”

Gossiping Is Common in Their Circles

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Gossiping can be seen across all age groups and socio-economic classes. However, it’s believed to be more common within circles in the lower class. An article suggests, “The painful truth is that poor people have more time to speak about others than themselves.”

They Have Messed-up Speech, Vocabulary, or Grammar

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How one speaks is an excellent indicator of one’s social standing. Poor grammar, limited vocabulary, and a flawed manner of speech all tell of one’s background and schooling. Unfortunately, most people from lower socio-economic classes don’t have access to the best educational materials and schools.

They Prefer to Ride the Bus

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People who are not well off enough to drive their own cars or fly by plane typically turn to public transportation, and in America, you can either go by train or bus. However, according to The Guardian, people from the middle class typically travel by rail or train. In contrast, poorer people or those from lower socio-economic classes predominantly use buses or bikes. In the worst-case scenario, they’ll walk to their destination.

They Avoid Healthcare

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Healthcare is costly, especially in the United States. Because of this, more and more people, especially those from lower socio-economic classes, find it hard to have health insurance. The lack of affordability of healthcare makes these people averse to getting the care they need, even in times of emergencies.

They View Coupons and Discounts as Lifelines

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If you’re familiar with the iconic American television series that aired in 2010 about extreme couponing, then you know precisely why this directly correlates to the lower class. By saving coupons and discount stubs, people can save hundreds—even thousands—of dollars on grocery expenses. However, this takes a lot of time, planning, and work, which are all things more affluent people don’t really want to do, especially for a simple grocery run.

They Repair Things on Their Own

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People with not enough money to spare tend to do things on their own, including repairing stuff around the house! Hiring professionals can get expensive, especially in a country like America. For example, CBS News shares, “Money spent on maintenance, renovations, and repairs, particularly for older houses, can easily cost homeowners thousands of dollars. The median amount Americans spent on home renovations in 2022 was $22,000.”

They Prefer Free Recreational Activities

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Those from low socio-economic classes often prefer free recreational activities because they offer enjoyment without the financial burden. These activities allow people to participate in leisure without worrying about how to pay for it or what they must sacrifice to enjoy it. Some examples of this would be hiking in local parks, visiting public libraries and museums, having picnics, and more.

They Go for Prepaid Phones

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Prepaid phones are typically utilized by individuals who face financial limitations, as these plans offer a pay-as-you-go option without requiring a contract or credit check. People with limited incomes often prefer prepaid plans with lower upfront costs and no long-term commitments. Moreover, prepaid phones are commonly used by those who may have difficulty qualifying for postpaid plans due to poor credit history or unstable financial circumstances.

They Always Use Slang or Profanity

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Though swearing, profanity, and slang have become a normal part of culture, in some ways, they are still not as widely accepted. Others even view them as a sign of a person having poor communication skills. An article from the US Department of Education notes, “Traditionally, taboo words have been primarily tied to people who are of lower socio-economic classes because they do not run the risk of harming one’s social status.”

They Are Very Loud When Communicating

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In line with the use of profanity, people from lower socio-economic classes are believed to be louder and less refined in speech and communication. In fact, a 2017 study quoted by The Guardian showed that poorer urban neighborhoods are around two decibels louder than richer or more affluent areas.

They Mostly or Always Use Cash

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Using mostly or only cash in a country like America may indicate that someone doesn’t have a credit card to use to purchase something or a bank account that’ll provide them with a debit card. Though some might find it weird, it is actually typical for people with lower incomes. It could also mean they’re working in jobs not officially recognized and often found in marginalized groups.

They Prioritize Work Over Everything Else

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Choosing work over things like relaxation or spending time with family and friends can be indicative of someone not having enough money to spare. After all, people with less money often must work a lot to get by, especially if they live paycheck to paycheck.

They Work Manual Labor Jobs

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Because they lack access to education, people from the lower socio-economic class typically work manual labor. In this industry, their bodies and physical strength are their capital, not their brains. Sadly, though it is more intense and draining, it usually pays less.

They Have Tacky Clothes or Cheap Styles

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People living paycheck to paycheck typically don’t have the luxury of being picky about their clothes. Fashion is not usually a top priority, and they don’t have many options because they usually shop at thrift stores.

They Are Notorious for Having Poor Financial Management Skills

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Poor financial management usually leads poor people to financial instability and security. However, we must remember that sometimes, it’s not their choice. They simply don’t earn enough to save for a rainy day. Instead, they have to spend everything they have every paycheck just to survive.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.