I need a proverb for a person who is poor in his native place and migrates to another country for better living, but there too, he still remains poor. So how can we call that person in proverb. In my own view, "a have not is a have not everywhere".

  • 3
    I think you can say adversity/poverty follows the poor everywhere. There is an interesting proverb in Hindi/Urdu that is very interesting , though not much relevant. "Gharibi mein atta geela" (the dough is runny in poverty). It means "In adversity, everything takes a bad turn".
    – Khan
    Mar 23, 2016 at 4:47
  • @Khan make this an attempt to the question and you have my vote! This is nice!
    – Maulik V
    Mar 23, 2016 at 5:05
  • @Mauli, I think you can answer in a better way. Please do it; I'll upvote .
    – Khan
    Mar 23, 2016 at 5:09
  • If it wasn't specifically a proverb, I'd say "Living the American dream" but I doubt that's baked into a proverb as eloquently.
    – corsiKa
    Mar 23, 2016 at 15:47
  • You can change your site, but not yourself.
    – user31932
    Mar 27, 2016 at 10:06

3 Answers 3


While I find no proverb/idiom that exactly addresses your concern, what Khan made seems to be the closest in this context.

poverty follows the poor everywhere

So, to write your story again...

Harry suffered from poverty. He made his mind to try his luck elsewhere. He moved to a city but there too poverty followed the poor.


Well, I don't know of a proverb that exactly fits your need, but there is a fairly well-known one which with some minor changes can meet your need, viz:

The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

  • Maulik, the proverb the grass is not .........doesn't fit well in the context. We have a proverb in Hindi/Urdu equivalent to it "door ke dhol suhane' (the drums sound better at a distance). It means that we tend to like the ones we don't have.
    – Khan
    Mar 23, 2016 at 6:15
  • @Khan true but then Tom says 'some minor changes'. I take it this way - Harry always felt that grass on the other side of the fence i.e. the city he would move (and not grass in his fence i.e. his hometown) is always greener (will help him get rid of his poverty). But then, in this case, the grass on the other side of the fence (i.e. the city) is not greener. City did not helped him get rid of his poverty! That's why I said 'A for Tom's efforts'.
    – Maulik V
    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:01
  • The proverb reads "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." -- because of course, if you cross the fence, that same grass is now on this side, and the grass you left behind is on the other side and now greener. Mar 23, 2016 at 15:59

I googled for "proverbs luck" and "bad luck proverbs" and found a chapter titled "Fortune and Luck in Proverbs", from D.E. Marvin, comp. "Curiosities in Proverbs", 1916.

Here are some examples

Every wind is against a leaky ship. (Danish).

By land or water the wind is ever in my face. (English).

He falls on his back and breaks his nose. (French, Italian, English).

He would break his neck upon a straw. (Italian).
“He would drown in a spoonful of water.” (Italian).

From another collection: (Robert Christy, 1887)

If I went to sea I should find it dry. (Italian)

If my father had made me a hatter men would have been born without heads. (Irish).

There's an Italian proverb that is antonymous to your requested proverb:

Who changes country changes luck.

You can modify it to:

A change of country brought no change of luck to him.


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