11 Nice Ways to Say “Poor”

It can be difficult to talk about troubling topics like poverty and wealth inequality. For instance, is it appropriate to describe another person as “poor”?

In this article, we’ll address that question. Moreover, we’ll be providing a list of potential synonyms for the term “poor” for when you want to use a different phrase.

Other Ways to Say “Poor”

  • Low-income
  • Disadvantaged
  • Indigent
  • Impoverished
  • Underprivileged
  • Out of pocket
  • Needy
  • Destitute
  • Poverty-stricken
  • Struggling
  • Recovering


  • There’s no clear answer as to whether “poor” is politically correct, as how you use it is of the most importance.
  • In professional and academic circumstances, you can use the synonym “low-income” instead of “poor.”
  • As a nicer alternative, you can say “disadvantaged.”

Keep reading to see how we use our two chosen synonyms for the word “poor” in a couple of examples.

After that, we’ll discuss if and when it is appropriate to use the word “poor.” Is it politically correct?


If you’re looking for a polite way to say “poor,” you’ll find that people frequently use “low-income” to speak about matters of poverty professionally.

Firstly, this phrase can be used by organizations or people trying to find ways to uplift a poor neighborhood and address inequities in society. You may also see it used in academic writing to sound more formal.

Moreover, a poor person can be described as having a “low-income” as well, as this usually means they are receiving wages that do not allow for a quality standard of living.

“Low-income” is not necessarily a better phrase than “poor.” After all, it is possible to use either phrase respectfully and tactfully.

However, this phrase tends to point to the systemic issue of income inequality. This makes it better suited for academic and professional contexts.

Finally, let’s see a couple of examples making use of this phrase:

As the weather grows colder, we need to ensure that low-income households can afford to heat their homes.

Low-income families face even greater turmoil as the cost-of-living increase rapidly in our country.


If you’re unsure how to say “poor” in a nice way, we would go with the phrase “disadvantaged.”

Firstly, this phrase refers to a person in unfavorable financial or social circumstances. Therefore, you can use it to describe a poor person.

In fact, charitable organizations often use this phrase to discuss the communities and people they are trying to help. Therefore, it may be deemed a better phrase than “poor” in charitable circumstances.

After all, this phrase acknowledges that some people are disadvantaged by systems in our society. Therefore, it implies that those systems need to be addressed from the root up, which is a more sustainable way to alleviate poverty.

Finally, consider the examples below to see this phrase in action:

We are working to create new opportunities for disadvantaged youths in our community.

We are collecting stationary for our pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Is It Politically Correct to Say “Poor”?

There is no certain answer regarding whether it is politically correct to use the word “poor.” Nonetheless, it is important to be tactful when speaking about people whose incomes are below the federal poverty threshold.

There are an array of differing opinions about the word “poor.” Some people believe that looking for euphemisms to describe people who are poor is unnecessary. They argue that issues of poverty should be addressed in a straightforward way.

Therefore, in some contexts, it’s okay to say poor” so long as you use the word in a tactful manner.

However, other people would consider the word rude. They say it implies that people who are struggling financially should be pitied rather than supported. As such, it may not always be proper to refer to people as “poor.”

In short, there’s no easy answer to this question. Nonetheless, when speaking about poverty and inequality, it is essential that your tone is respectful and solution-oriented.

If you are looking for a more politically correct way to say “poor,” the synonyms in our list should assist you. Moreover, it never hurts to have multiple options to best suit the context you’re in.

Therefore, feel free to bookmark this page and keep our list on hand!