Ben Carson says poverty is 'a state of mind'


  • Shutterstock
  • Ben Carson

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson says he believes poverty is a "mindset."

The former Detroiter and retired neurosurgeon made the remarks on a SiriusXM interview with Armstrong Williams that aired Wednesday.

"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," he said. "You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there." He said people develop that "state of mind" due to poor parenting, and praised his mother for helping him rise out of his impoverished upbringing by focusing on education.

"If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty," he said. "She was a person who absolutely would not accept the status of victim."

Carson has been a vocal critic of welfare programs, despite the fact that his family relied food stamps when he was growing up. Under the Trump administration's 2018 budget, more than $6 billion would be cut from Housing and Urban Development.

See the interview below:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.