[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sm_14tokai.jpg]]

-> ''One jump, ahead of the bread line\\
One swing, [[CityGuards ahead of the sword]]\\
[[JustifiedCriminal I steal, only what I can't afford]] - And that's everything!''
--> -- "One Jump Ahead", [[DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney's]] ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''

A kid, usually an orphan, who has lived on the streets for most of his short life. Survival is a matter of stealing whatever they need, doing odd jobs, and/or stuff you'd probably rather not think about. He may actually have a home or family, but the situation there may be so bad that living on the streets is preferable, or they're out stealing for their family's sake.

The vast majority of them usually grow up into street gangs or worse, but the ones we usually deal with have a run-in with the hero of the story. Older characters usually end up becoming an older brother or father to them, or at least friends.

Street Urchins are usually boys, but having the character suddenly revealed to be a {{tomboy}} is just as common. Not quite a WholesomeCrossdresser, she just really doesn't have the money for any feminine clothes. Not to mention that, in many places like this, it's probably for the best that some people ''not'' know you're a girl.

If the character seems perfectly happy with their lot in life and practically seems to thrive on the streets, then you have yourself TheArtfulDodger. If this character grows up into a hardened survivor and is proud of his hungry years, you've got a SatisfiedStreetRat. If your character isn't human, expect an EarNotch or two.

A very sad case of TruthInTelevision, but far, ''far'' worse out here.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime]]
* Duo Maxwell in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Gundam Wing]]'' is shown to have run in a gang of urchins in the prequel manga, ''Episode Zero.'' He ends up getting set on the path to being a HumongousMecha pilot when terrorists hold his friends, and the Nun and Priest caring for them, and offers to steal a mobile suit to get them freed. He actually pulls it off, too, but true to his later persona as a BrokenHero, it doesn't end well.
** The novelization of TheMovie takes it a step further by showing his life before the church: he was the second-in-command of a group of street urchins lead by a young man named Solo. When Solo caught a nasty disease whose vaccine was reserved for the rich, the boy stole some but didn't make it back in time. He never got sick himself, which he attributed to Solo watching over him, and took on the name "Duo" to symbolize that they'd always be a team. Duo becomes the gang's new leader, which is where he is when his chapter of ''Episode Zero'' starts.
* Hakuron in ''Manga/HaouAiren'' spent a while like this, until taken in by TheTriadsAndTheTongs.
* Kotaro Inugami in ''MahouSenseiNegima'' is a [[HalfHumanHybrid Half-Demon]] who, thanks to his nature, was able to survive by performing work as a mercenary. He ends up becoming a rival to Negi, follows him to Mahora, and ends up getting unofficially adopted by one of his students.
** Also, [[spoiler: Tohsaka]] used to be one as a kid.
* Yahiko Myoujin in ''RurouniKenshin'', after his IllGirl mother's death.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Renji and Rukia were like this when they were kids. Kenpachi Zaraki and his lieutenant were a DarkerAndEdgier version of this.
** Also, Gin and Rangiku.
* Neneko in ''{{Yumeria}}'' seems to live on the streets most of the time.
* In the ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' manga, a young Ryouji Kaji grows up among a gang of war orphans; of course, since this is Evangelion, it all eventually ends in terrible tragedy.
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}!'''s Firo Prochainezo used to be one, being orphaned at age nine (and fatherless before that) and forced to make it on his own in one of New York's seedier neighborhoods. He stumbled into [[TheMafia the Camorra]] after attempting to pick-pocket one of their higher-ranking executives.
** Jacuzzi's delinquent gang is also composed of these.
* This is part of [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam Chibodee Crockett's]] history, before he was scouted by an agent and made it big in boxing.
** Same goes to his FourGirlEnsemble, whom he specifically took in as he saw his past situation reflected in theirs.
* Garrod Ran from Anime/AfterWarGundamX. He tells Tiffa in the second episode that he was at first raised by his widowed father, but then his dad died and found himself completely alone.
* [[spoiler: Meg]] from BurstAngel.
* Brian Hawk from ''HajimeNoIppo'' has this past. In ''no way'' is this a FreudianExcuse for his behaviour, however.
* In ''Manga/TheSecretAgreement'', Yuuichi, having been orphaned in the war ([[ParentalAbandonment or so he thought]]), grows up on the streets but is able to turn himself into a SelfMadeMan. He's not rich and he's still lower class, but he can comfortably support himself which is pretty good considering how he started off.
* This is part of [[CuteAndPsycho Alois']] backstory in ''Manga/BlackButler''.
* Kei in the animated ''IriaZeiramTheAnimation''.
* Luffy, his brother Ace and [[spoiler: their other brother Sabo]] from ''OnePiece'' spent their childhood together as a little gang of street urchins. They were particularly infamous amongst the local cooks for their skill at playing 'dine and ditch'.
* In ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'', this was Chantez's lot in life until Sister Schach [[DefeatMeansFriendship befriended her when the former tried to mug the latter]], then [[HappilyAdopted raised her as a knight in training]] in the [[SaintlyChurch Saint Church]].
* ''Anime/LupinIIIDeadOrAlive'' establishes the current tone/mood of the Zufu nation with a scene of an open-stall market, where people are arguing over the price of apples. When two boys hiding in a TotemPoleTrench are caught stealing apples, they run away from the proprietor, bringing the apples they stole back to their gang of a half-dozen group of similarly poorly clothed kids.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Book]]
* {{Storm}} from ''Comicbook/{{X-Men}}'' started out as one of these after an [[ParentalAbandonment airplane crashed atop the Cairo home of her Black American father and Kenyan mother]]. She had a solid claim to being the best pickpocket and escape artist in the city by the time she hit puberty only to wander south along the Nile on impulse, have her powers kick in, and spend the bulk of her adolescence as a Weather Deity made manifest on the Serengeti.
** To this day, her street urchin skills come in handy in combat. She hasn't met a lock she couldn't pick. In fact, when wearing a costume that features it, ''her tiara contains a number of lock picks.''
** Jubilee too. After the murder of her parents she spent a few years living on the streets of LA, doing fireworks shows with her abilities, before being picked up by the X-Men.
** Comicbook/{{Gambit}} spent most of his young life being raised to be a thief by thieves in the streets and swamps of [[TheBigEasy Louisiana]]. When he met Storm for the first time, she suffered from LaserGuidedAmnesia and briefly returned to her thieving ways. The two quickly became partners in crime.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'': The PostCrisis incarnation of Jason Todd (Robin II).
** Another DC comics example is Cindy [[strike:"Gypsey"]] ''"Gypsy"'' [[strike:Renolds]] ''Reynolds''.
* After his reincarnation by [[TheMightyThor Thor]], ComicBook/{{Loki}} spent some times as one of these in France, not having his godly memories or powers. He worked as a con artist with another unnamed child until Thor restored his memories (up to the age he was at, anyway)...
* Sherri from ''Comicbook/TheCrow''. Renamed Sarah for [[Film/TheCrow the film]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* Dee from Fanfic/DJINNWayToHome [[TheRunaway left her foster parents]] after [[spoiler: her foster father tried to molest her]] and lived on the streets for a year before the story begins, getting some help and advice from an experienced older homeless woman and passing herself off as a boy. She's actually {{Bifauxnen}} enough to fool Will when they first meet. Her experiences in the foster system and on the streets has given her the determination and skills to become a good [[ChosenOne Keeper of the Heart]], but also ladens her with several [[BrokenBird severe]] [[DoesNotLikeMen personal]] [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight issues]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The Kid in ''Film/DickTracy''.
* Jamal and his brother Salim in ''SlumdogMillionaire'' grew up like this after the slum they lived in was attacked during a religion riot.
* The Dead End Kids, who starred in many gangster movies from the 1930's and 40's including ''Dead End'' and ''AngelsWithDirtyFaces''. They always played the same characters, a gang of orphan kids living in the street and always up to no good.
* Abu in ''Film/TheThiefOfBagdad''.
* The scary ass kids from the movie {{Hostel}}.
* The movie ''MoulinRouge'' actually has a Can Can girl dressed as a street urchin.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]
* ''Literature/OliverTwist'' features a boy who becomes a street urchin as the titular character, as well as many others in various conditions as supporting characters.
* When the titular character of ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'' needed info from the street, he could always count on the Baker Street Irregulars, a gang of street urchins who have eyes and ears ''everywhere'' on the streets of London.
* In Ben Kane's ''Literature/TheForgottenLegion'', Romulus befriends a street urchin named Mattius.
* Most of the characters in ''Literature/LesMiserables'' had this kind of childhood, but Gavroche in particular embodies the trope.
* Vin from ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' by Brandon Sanderson was a street urchin who survived in relative physical and psychical health only because of her yet undeveloped but useful awesome magical talent.
* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/NightWatch'', the young Nobby Nobbs is described as a street urchin, on the grounds that he's small, prickly, and smells like fish. As the book was a pastiche of ''Les Miserables'', he served as the stand-in for Gavroche.
* Arya in ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' spends some time playing the street urchin, both genuinely and as part of [[spoiler: learning to be a magical assassin]]. In the Dunk and Egg stories, Dunk recalls his earliest memories as an urchin in the slums of King's Landing. The streetfighting skills he learned there have saved him on more than one occasion.
* The ''Literature/EndersGame'' series has the ''Shadow'' {{POV Sequel}}s that star Bean. The first novel includes Bean's backstory, which reveals how he grew up in a street urchin gang, amoungst other, rival gangs. The leader who picked him up was named Poke, the cross-dressing kind of street urchin. Revealing this information was part of how Achilles had taken over control of her gang. Card got pretty graphic with his depections of street urchin life. The swollen bellies of hunger and just how much a meal counts, and the long-term emotional abnormality you get from trying to be self-sufficient so young. As badly as his heroes {{Angst}} about their selfish natures, his antagonists seem to revel in those same flaws.
* ''Creator/TamoraPierce'' started with one in her ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' series.
** Briar, in his books, is always interacting with the street urchins from whatever town they're currently in. ''Briar's Book'' also had street kids in the opening, before it became a magical-epidemiology-procedural drama.
** Briar picks up Evvy during ''Street Magic'', the only "unganged" urchin he seems to ever meet. Evvy later got her own book.
* Flinx from Creator/AlanDeanFoster's [[HumanxCommonwealth Pip and Flinx]] series. Not only is Flinx an orphan who lived on the streets, as an adult after being adopted he takes some under his wing that fit the definition perfectly.
* Lyra from ''HisDarkMaterials'' is a rare voluntary example: she was born and raised among the posh, wealthy nobility of Oxford and knows every single licentiate in the Jordan College, but being a LittleMissBadass, she spends her days fighting against the kids from the other neighborhoods, stealing stuff from the docks, and climbing and sneaking around Jordan College during the night.
* Zael in Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novels of Literature/{{Ravenor}}.
* Nan from MercedesLackey's ''[[Literature/ElementalMasters The Wizard of London]]'' is a good example of one.
** For that matter so was [[HeraldsOfValdemar Skif]], at least to start out with.
** There was also another young Herald-Trainee in ''Arrows of the Queen'' who gets a mention on one of the ''Mage Winds'' books. He was one used for unsavory purposes.
* Kim in Creator/PatriciaCWrede's ''Literature/MairelonTheMagician''. A girl disguised as a boy, and for good reason.
* In the ''Literature/{{Outlander}}'' series, Fergus grew up this way, living in a whorehouse, unsure which of the ladies was his mother, until adopted by Jamie. In places it's a ''very'' dark take on this trope -- for example, the fact that Fergus had also prostituted himself for money.
* Stevie in the Caleb Carr novels ''TheAlienist'' and ''Angel Of Death'' is a street urchin.
* LloydAlexander's ''Literature/{{Westmark}}'' trilogy has the girl Mickle and the sister-and-brother duo Sparrow and Weasel.
* In the ''{{Borribles}}'' trilogy by Michael de Larrabeiti, street urchins are sort of the embryonic form of the immortal, elfin Borribles -- particularly successful and cunning urchins [[{{Pokemon}} "evolve"]] into Borribles.
* Leisl in the {{Ravenloft}} novel ''Vampire of the Mists''.
* Jin Sato from ''Cryoburn'', the latest installment of the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'', is a street urchin. Somewhat unusually for this trope, he hasn't been on the streets his whole life, and he left his aunt and uncle not because they were horribly abusive, but because his aunt threatened to get rid of some of his pets, which include a falcon, rats, three hens, and a three-legged cat. [[spoiler: The real reason he couldn't stand living with his aunt and uncle is the way they've tried to obliterate the memory of his mother, out of fear of the MegaCorp who had her [[HumanPopsicle frozen]]]] Miles thinks that he's TheArtfulDodger or a single BakerStreetRegular. This is a mistake.
* Senka Skorik from [[ErastFandorin Boris Akunin's]] ''He Lover of Death''
* Mara from ''Literature/MaraDaughterOfTheNile'' combines this with being a [[BeautifulSlaveGirl slave]]. Her EstablishingCharacterMoment ''in-universe'' is stealing a number of honey cakes from a baker--but even though she enjoys stealing and deception, she only does it out of necessity and dreams of a better life.
* Mickey in Creator/GeneStrattonPorter's ''Michael O'Halloran'', of the odd jobs variety. He still lives in the apartment where he had lived with his mother; she had been at pains to teach him how, so he could escape the OrphanageOfFear.
* In PoulAnderson's Literature/TimePatrol story "Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks", Pummairam.
* In AndreNorton's ''Storm Over Literature/{{Warlock}}'', Shann's {{Backstory}} -- by the time of the story he has a job with the Survey, though somewhat precarious.
* In RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TheMoonIsAHarshMistress'' there are teenagers who "roam the corridors". Boys do so because their families couldn't find another family to marry them into, and girls do so because once they hit "husband high" no, not even their own mothers, can tell them what to do. They are called "Stilyagi," after the counterculture of 50s Russia.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Chiana in ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' before she joined the crew.
* Ariel the "Street Waif" from ''KungFu The Legend Continues'', and yes, the guy who came up with that term was made fun of.
* Lujan Linares was one (a "cartonerita") on RebeldeWay.
* Gleb Zheglov from ''TheMeetingPlaceCannotBeChanged'' was one in his childhood.
* [[TheMightyBoosh Vince Noir]] sometimes claims to have been one of these in his youth:
--->'''Vince:''' I'm a cockney bitch! I'm a ragamuffin from the streets.
--->'''Howard:''' You're a French Duke. You lie around in hammocks all day eating soft cheese.
* ''Series/ElChavoDelOcho''
* Nancy and other kids from the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Empty Child".
* ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'': Jack and Z were street rats at the beginning, and stole food and clothing for the other homeless people.
* This is implied to be part of Marguerite's backstory in ''Series/SirArthurConanDoylesTheLostWorld'': she had to evade gendarmes on the streets of Paris multiple times.
* Detective Erin Lindsay on ''Series/{{Chicago PD}}'', prior to Sergeant Voight and his wife taking her in at age 16.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''{{Uncharted}} 3'' reveals that Drake was this when he was a child.
* ''VideoGame/{{Discworld}}'' has a stereotypical Street Urchin.
** "Starfish, sir!"
* In ''VideoGame/{{Angband}}'', there's the "Filthy street urchin". Being a {{roguelike}}, you can kill them.
* Marco from ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia.''
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': Vaan and Penelo.
* Annah from PlanescapeTorment grew up as the "stealing for her family" variant.
* Commander Shepard from ''Franchise/MassEffect'', if one chooses the [[MultipleChoicePast Earthborn Pre-Service History.]]
* Shows up in many a {{Fanfiction}} involving [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Reno]], but this seems to be WordOfDante more than anything else; his backstory really isn't mentioned.
* ''HectorBadgeOfCarnage'' episode 2 has Lambert meet one who is living in an abandoned fridge, lost his hand in a shoe shining accident and had it replaced by a hook. After he helps Lambert, Lambert [[spoiler: ends up adopting him.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Sampaguita}}'', the 3rd game of the ''VisualNovel/{{Yarudora}}'' series:
** Main heroine Maria and her adopted older brother Boy were this in their early life in the Philippines. They were doing little jobs such as selling [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasminum_sambac sampaguita flowers]] in the street crossroads, doing their best to survive. The game treats the player with a {{Flashback}} of these moments when Maria tells her past to the protagonist, after [[QuestForIdentity she has recovered her memories]] and fallen in love with him.
** A secondary character, Randy Santiago, also tells he was a Filipino street urchin in his younger days, while talking to the protagonist and giving him info about the Philippines.
* Garret, protagonist of ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'', used to be one. He got recruited into the order of the Keepers when he tried to pickpocket one (an impressive feat, considering they are masters of stealth).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Cathalie Meguro and Mitch Gunther of SurvivalOfTheFittest, though they lived in an orphanage instead of on the streets.
* Sahar, in the WhateleyUniverse. You do not want to be a girl who's an orphan on the streets of Baghdad. Her powers kick in when she's being dragged off by a pimp who plans to make some money using her body.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomics/DreamCatcher'' has Daemon, though for how long he's been one is a mystery.
* In LeastICouldDo, Rayne employs a young orphan boy, appropriately called [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Urchin]], for various zany, self-serving errands and odd jobs. Eventually we learn that [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Rayne also keeps Urchin fed, sheltered and educated]] until he can be adopted. Somewhat of a subversion in that Urchin is no longer on the streets.
* {{Guttersnipe}} is all about this trope.
* TheDreamlandChronicles: [[http://www.thedreamlandchronicles.com/the-dreamland-chronicles/chapter-05/page-284/ Felicity lightly mentions that she grew up on the streets.]]
* Mia from ''TrueVillains'' had this sort of life, as revealed in the musical version. It holds true in the comic.
* Jose from ''Webcomic/{{Waterworks}}'' was a StreetUrchin in his youth, until he met a thug named Tubs and subsequently had a pretty good life serving as his lackey.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Tim Drake is portrayed like this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', an amalgam of his comic origins and those of second Robin Jason Todd. His father was a criminal who ended up on the bad side of Two-Face, and he quickly found himself an orphan, just in time to get far too deep in the middle of one of Batman's cases.
* The title character of Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' is, more or less, a slightly more grown-up version, and both in the full-length features and the series many young children are shown starving on the streets of Agrabah.
** S'interesting because the original Aladdin depended on his mum for ''everything'' and was a shiftless wastrel living off her right up until he got the genie to rely on instead, and even then had her present his request to marry the princess after spying on her in the bath. Disney rightly decided that would make a terrible movie and wrote her out.
*** The Sorceror even picked him to dupe because he so clearly had no character or will to make anything of himself.
*** In the Disney version, he picked him specifically because the cave of wonders singled him out as a "diamond in the rough", but Jafar was all too keen to sacrifice Aladdin for his scheme because in his mind, who would miss one more vanished street rat?
* ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' has a few of these, and Fievel, a child in search of his family, nearly becomes one himself.
* Julian from ''{{Cybersix}}''
* [[MeaningfulName Urchin]] from ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleMermaid'' series.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' [[PromotedToParent Mako]] and his little brother [[TheCharmer Bolin]] grew up on the streets, and are explicitly referred to as Street Urchins by Butakha, the pro-bending organizer. They ran numbers "and stuff" for the [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triple Threat Triad]], before being taken in by Toza, who mentored them in [[FictionalSport pro-bending]] and arranged to let them live in the arena's attic apartment. There's also young Skoochy, a boy who likes to serve as an informant.
** Wan, who would become the very first Avatar, was one of these as well.
* WordOfGod (or specifically of Jymn Magon) says that before he took up with Don Karnage's air pirates, TaleSpin's Kit Cloudkicker lived on his own, hitching rides or stowing away from one port to another.
[[/folder]]
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