How is that possible? You ask…
1. They often receive financial support from their family members (making their “better off” family members more economically vulnerable);
2. They borrow money and find themselves in debt from which they never recover;
3. They do odd jobs to earn money that isn’t reported to the IRS (yard sales, handy word, housework, childcare, flea markets, etc.)
Can someone really live on $10,000 a year?
Very difficult unless they are off the grid, living in a vehicle, campsite, etc. and have means to feed themselves without visiting the grocery store or farmer’s market very often. We’re talking a very, very, very simple way of life. Possible? Yes. Possible for everyone? No. But it does beg the question about the role of education in preparing “survivors” who can fend for themselves as adults with low incomes.
Some interesting examples are posted in the article linked above.