I'm not sure. I've never been poor, so I can't speak from personal experience, but being poor is not necessarily about choice. Certainly I can start off rich, and make bad decisions. Perhaps that's my fault, perhaps I got unlucky. But if you start off in poverty, it's not easy, as I understand, to get yourself out of poverty. If you had a crap education, and a rough home life, you probably didn't leave school with good grades, so you can't get a decent job etc etc. There's a whole life-defining set of knock-on effects. And if you're trapped in debt, struggling to pay the rent and keep yourself warm, how easy is it to get out of that? If an opportunity does come along, will you have the cash to leverage it (think train ride to job interview).
I don't know how you got out of your fix, I'd be really interested to know.