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Street Urchin

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Riff-raff, street rat
I don't buy that
If only they'd look closer
Would they see a poor boy? No, siree
They'd find out they're so much more to me
Aladdin, "One Jump Ahead" (reprise), Aladdin

A kid, usually an orphan, who has lived on the streets for most of their short life. Survival is a matter of stealing whatever they need, doing odd jobs, and/or stuff you'd probably rather not think about. They 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. In this case, they might end up Recruited from the Gutter.

Street Urchins are usually boys, but having the character suddenly revealed to be a tomboy is just as common. Not quite a Wholesome Crossdresser, 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. Though there are a few examples of openly and obviously female urchins.

Expect them to have a Cockney accent, even if they're American. They also tend to wear flat caps.

If the character seems perfectly happy with their lot in life and practically seems to thrive on the streets, then you have yourself The Artful Dodger. If this character grows up into a hardened survivor and is proud of his hungry years, you've got a Satisfied Street Rat. If your character isn't human, expect an Ear Notch or two. They may end up regularly assisting the heroes as a Baker Street Regular.

A very sad case of Truth in Television, but far, far worse out here.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the first volume of Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, Angelo tries to help one, and it doesn't go well. Later, he finds the same kid again and is able to actually help him into a better situation.
  • Duo Maxwell in 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 Humongous Mecha 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 Broken Hero, it doesn't end well.
    • The novelization of The Movie takes it a step further by showing his life before the church: he was the second-in-command of a group of street urchins led 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 Haou Airen spent a while like this, until taken in by The Triads and the Tongs.
  • Kotaro Inugami in Negima! Magister Negi Magi is a 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, Tohsaka used to be one as a kid.
  • Yahiko Myoujin in Rurouni Kenshin, after his ill mother's death.
  • In Bleach, Renji and Rukia were like this when they were kids. Kenpachi Zaraki and his lieutenant were a Darker and Edgier version of this.
    • Also, Gin and Rangiku.
  • Neneko in Yumeria seems to live on the streets most of the time.
  • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion 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.
  • 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 the Camorra after attempting to pick-pocket one of their higher-ranking executives.
    • Jacuzzi's delinquent gang is also composed of these.
  • Revy of Black Lagoon had a terribly abusive father, and spent much of her life on the mean streets of New York's Chinatown.
  • This is part of Chibodee Crockett's history before he was scouted by an agent and made it big in boxing.
    • Same goes to his Four-Girl Ensemble, whom he specifically took in as he saw his past situation reflected in theirs.
  • Garrod Ran from After War Gundam X. 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.
  • Meg from Burst Angel.
  • Brian Hawk from Hajime no Ippo has this past. In no way is this a Freudian Excuse for his behaviour, however.
  • In The Secret Agreement, Yuuichi, having been orphaned in the war (or so he thought), grows up on the streets but is able to turn himself into a Self-Made Man. 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 Alois' backstory in Black Butler.
  • Kei in the animated IRIA: Zeiram the Animation.
  • Luffy, his brother Ace, and their other brother Sabo from One Piece 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'.
    • Well, they played at being street urchins. Luffy and Ace were placed under the care of Makino (and later Dadan) by Garp, and Sabo was the son of nobles.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, this was Chantez's lot in life until Sister Schach befriended her when the former tried to mug the latter, then raised her as a knight in training in the Saint Church.
  • Lupin III: Dead or Alive 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 Totem Pole Trench 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.
  • Emma: A Victorian Romance provides a rare female example in the title character, Emma. As a child, she was kidnapped from her (desperately poor) home and barely escaped being sold into prostitution. She lived on the streets of Victorian London for the next few years selling flowers and begging for food until Kelly Stownar took her in to test the hypothesis that anyone can succeed if given a good education.

    Comic Book 
  • Storm from X-Men started out as one of these after an 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 (Marvel Comics) 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.
    • Gambit spent most of his young life being raised to be a thief by thieves in the streets and swamps of Louisiana. When he met Storm for the first time, she suffered from Laser-Guided Amnesia and briefly returned to her thieving ways. The two quickly became partners in crime.
  • DC Comics:
    • Batman: The Post-Crisis incarnation of Jason Todd (Robin II/Red Hood).
    • This trope is a common element in backstories for Catwoman. Usually, it goes that she ran away from an abusive, destitute home to live on the streets of Gotham as a young girl, and developed the thieving and parkour skills she would become infamous for to survive.
    • Another DC comics example is Gypsy (Cindy Reynolds).
    • The second Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, is a runaway who lived on her own for almost ten years, somehow making it from Macau to Gotham in the process, with no communication skills or idea how to survive in society, due to having been raised up to that point in a secluded bunker.
    • Billy Batson, the original Captain Marvel, started out as the most wholesome but self-reliant street kid imaginable before being taken in by the same foster family that was already caring for his sister.
    • The Golden Age Guardian was a police officer in his non-costumed identity and ended up taking in a whole cadre of streetwise orphans known as the Newsboy Legion who had gotten into trouble with the law but were mostly good kids just fighting to survive and used to relying on each other rather than any adults.
  • After his reincarnation by Thor, Loki spent some time 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 The Crow. Renamed Sarah for the film.
  • In Peter Pan, Peter is friends with a group of them. They end up going with him to Neverland and becoming the Lost Boys.

    Fan Works 
  • Dee from D.J.I.N.N.: Way to Home left her foster parents after 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 have given her the determination and skills to become a good Keeper of the Heart, but also ladens her with several severe personal issues.
  • Fan Works based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic commonly characterise Scootaloo as such, due to the show's failure to provide any canon information on her family in over four seasons, and only once showing her living anywhere. A Taste of the Good Life has her living in an abandoned restaurant, which is bought by the Main character.
  • In The Night Unfurls, Sanakan and Hugh deconstruct this by showing how unlikely for orphaned pickpockets like them to thrive in the streets and be satisfied with their life. They manage to reside in a village as shelter, only for it to be attacked by the Black Dogs. Hugh ends up getting stabbed in the eye by an orc, left to bleed out; Sanakan gets taken by a group of those mercenaries to a church, rounded up along with the village women for an orgy. Were it not for Kyril cleaning up the entire village of the Black Dogs and finding the two by chance, the two would be doomed. They won't even survive one chapter in a Crapsack World that's Harmful to Minors.
  • In the Fairy Tail fanfic The Spirit Doll, when Lucy goes missing her daughter becomes this but only for a little over a week. Luckily, she has a run-in with Erza, Natsu, Gray, and Happy. They take her in and decide to help find her mother, especially when they find out who she is.
  • In Harry Potter And Seven Years Of Chaos, Harry was evicted by his relatives and spent three years living on the streets of London before receiving his Hogwarts letter.
  • In Everqueen, Horus grows up as one on Chtonia and is leading a gang of such kids.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin is one of many children who grew up on the streets of Agrabah. Jafar was all too keen to sacrifice Aladdin for his scheme because in his mind, who would notice one more vanished street rat?
  • An American Tail has a few of these, and Fievel, a child in search of his family, nearly becomes one himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Slumdog Millionaire: Jamal and his brother Salim grew up like this after the slum they lived in was attacked during a religious riot.
  • The Dead End Kids, who starred in many gangster movies from the 1930s and '40s including Dead End and Angels with Dirty Faces. They always played the same characters, a gang of orphan kids living in the street and always up to no good.
  • The scary-ass kids from the movie Hostel.
  • The movie Moulin Rouge! actually has a Can-Can girl dressed as a street urchin.
  • Salaam Bombay!: 12-year-old Krishna isn't an orphan but he might as well be, as his mother has thrown him out of the house. That's why he's fighting to survive on the streets of Bombay, sleeping in alleyways and working odd jobs, and hanging out with heroin addicts.
  • Shoeshine is about two street urchins trying to survive as shoeshine boys in 1944 Rome right after the Allied liberation. They have a Downer Ending.
  • Norwegian feature film Street Urchins has several. Only one of the boys fits the trope completely though.
  • Anino: There are a lot on the slums of Manila. The photographer protagonist stupidly gives a shirtless street urchin his camera to look at, only to turn around and find that the urchin has disappeared with the camera.
  • Hoa-Binh is about a 10-year-old boy, orphaned with his toddler sister on the streets of 1969 Saigon, struggling to stay alive in a country suffering through the Vietnam War.
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story serves as an origin story for everyone's favorite smuggler/scoundrel, revealing that Han grew up a "scrum rat" on the streets of Corellia; he didn't even have the last name Solo until he applied to the Imperial Academy.
  • Ana: Ana is a street-smart urchin who uses theft, persuasion, and charm to get what she needs.
  • Zorro (1975): Chico, a streetsmart urchin lad who befriends Miguel early on; the urchin recounting the "legend of a black spirit to save the people" is what inspired Miguel to become the legend himself, tie titular crusader known as Zorro.

  • Stevie in the Caleb Carr novels The Alienist and Angel of Death is a street urchin.
  • 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 "evolve" into Borribles.
  • Nisha from The Brotherhood of the Conch came to Kolkata with her family when she was a young child. She was separated from them in the marketplace and never saw them again. She no longer remembers what her name was - instead, she was known for most of her childhood as Sweeper Girl because she swept in front of a soda stall in exchange for being allowed to sleep under it.
  • Tamora Pierce started with one in her Circleverse 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.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's "Citizen of the Galaxy" the protagonist Thorby is first shown identifying as an Artful Dodger character, but adopting the public persona of a street urchin begging for alms. He adopts other tropic personae as the novel progresses.
  • Dark Shores: Finn from Dark Skies. He's about ten, wears shabby clothes, and lives with other abandoned children in the sewers of Mudaire. His mother is dead and when his father was conscripted, the distant family he was living with, threw him out. Fortunately for him, he does not really have to steal, as Killian brings them leftover food from the palace. In return, Finn and other kids serve as Killian's eyes and ears in the city.
  • In the Discworld novel Night Watch, 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.
  • Terry Pratchett's non-Discworld novel Dodger is set in a Victorian London almost identical to our own and has characters suspiciously reminiscent of those in Oliver Twist. Indeed, Charles Dickens himself is a major character who interacts with the streetwise Dodger.
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, Sunandi used to live on the streets in Kisua before being adopted by master Kinja.
  • Ender's Shadow includes Bean's backstory, which reveals how he grew up in a street urchin gang, amongst 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.
  • In Ben Kane's The Forgotten Legion, Romulus befriends a street urchin named Mattius.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: Han's earliest memories were being on the street as a child by himself, with no clear memory of his past, begging to survive. Garris Shrike then "rescued" Han, though it turns out he has former street kids beg, con or pickpocket for him.
  • Senka Skorik from Boris Akunin's He Lover of Death, living on the streets as a child, working for a crime gang.
  • Lyra from His Dark Materials 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 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.
  • Berry Zilwicki from Honor Harrington spent the first fifteen years of her life in the underground slums of Old Chicago, and much of that without her mother. While not portrayed in detail, her life is often stated to have been hellish, including having been raped. The fact that she doesn't have much in the way of trauma is viewed as very remarkable.
    • Berry's younger brother, Lars, also fits this trope.
  • Flinx from Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth 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.
  • Journey to Chaos: Zettai lived on the streets of Ceiha after the death of her parents and survived by smuggling contraband magical tomes and items. She's eventually caught and sentenced to death by hanging and that's where Eric comes in. She's eventually adopted by Eric's mentor, Basilard.
  • Kindling Ashes: Giselle is an orphan who lies in an alley. Her introduction is a gold smuggling job in a sewer.
  • Mercedes Lackey's works:
    • Nan from The Wizard of London.
    • Heralds of Valdemar: 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 Patricia C. Wrede's Mairelon the Magician. A girl disguised as a boy, and for good reason.
  • Mara from Mara, Daughter of the Nile combines this with being a slave. Her Establishing Character Moment 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 Gene Stratton-Porter'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 Orphanage of Fear.
  • Most of the characters in Les Misérables had this kind of childhood, but Gavroche in particular embodies the trope.
  • Vin from 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 Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress 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 one, not even their own mothers, can tell them what to do. They are called "Stilyagi," after the counterculture of 50s Russia.
  • Oliver Twist features a boy who becomes a street urchin as the titular character, as well as many others in various conditions as supporting characters.
  • In the 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.
  • Zael Efferneti of the Ravenor books has been out on the streets since he was eleven, doing odd jobs for criminals to feed his crippling flect addiction. A chance encounter with Nayl brings Zael to Ravenor’s attention and gives him a new lease on life.
  • When the titular character of Sherlock Holmes 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.
  • Skate, Twitch, and other children in Skate the Thief either sleep on the street or else in hideouts of the Ink in between bouts of larceny, dressed in tattered old clothes even in the middle of a snowy winter.
  • Arya in A Song of Ice and Fire spends some time playing the street urchin, both genuinely and as part of 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.
  • In Andre Norton's Storm Over Warlock, Shann's Backstory — by the time of the story he has a job with the Survey, though somewhat precarious.
  • In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol story "Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks", Pummairam.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Jin Sato from Cryoburn 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. 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 Mega-Corp who had her frozen. Miles thinks that he's The Artful Dodger or a single Baker Street Regular. This is a mistake.
    • This is also part of Sergeant Bothari's backstory: after running away from home at the age of twelve to escape from being forced to work as a child prostitute, he lived on the streets as a member of one of the slum gangs of street children, until he was tall enough to pass for eighteen and join the army - by which time, of course, he would already have had plenty of experience of having to fight to survive. In some ways, Bothari's experience parallels Aral Vorkosigan's experience of having been a Child Soldier from the age of eleven, long before he officially began his military service - although they had come from opposite ends of the social spectrum, neither of them had had the opportunity to have a normal childhood that people from other planets (like Cordelia) or from a later, more peaceful generation (like Miles) would take for granted.
  • Zael in Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novels of Ravenor.
  • In Warrior Cats, a runt named Tiny took to the streets after being told that humans throw unwanted kits in the river. His street life began pitiful and begging for scraps, but thanks to telling some tall tales and gradually Becoming the Mask, he ends up as Scourge, the feared leader of BloodClan (the city strays).
  • Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy has the girl Mickle and the sister-and-brother duo Sparrow and Weasel.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Detective Erin Lindsay on Chicago P.D., prior to Sergeant Voight and his wife taking her in at age 16.
  • Diff'rent Strokes: In "Sam's Missing" (the episode where Sam is kidnapped), how Donald Brown, the patriarch of a grieving family (they had lost their son weeks earlier in a tragic accident), tries to pass Sam off to his friends and even his own family ... a little kid who was lost, orphaned, living on the street and needed the love of a family. Problem was, both Sam and Mr. Brown knew this wasn't true.
  • Doctor Who: "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" has Nancy and the group of younger kids she looks after.
  • Chiana in Farscape before she joined the crew.
  • Game of Thrones: This is how Arya lives in King's Landing following her escape from the Red Keep.
  • Gotham Knights (2023): Harper and Cullen are teenagers who'd lived on the street surviving by theft after they fled their abusive father.
  • Ariel the "Street Waif" from Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and yes, the guy who came up with that term was made fun of.
  • Gleb Zheglov from The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed was one in his childhood.
  • The Mighty Boosh: 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.
  • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Jack and Z were street rats at the beginning, and stole food and clothing for the other homeless people.
  • Lujan Linares was one (a "cartonerita") on Rebelde Way.
  • This is implied to be part of Marguerite's backstory in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: she had to evade gendarmes on the streets of Paris multiple times.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder Society organized play has a trait (a kind of perk only selectable at level 1) called "Child of the Streets", which is pretty much what it sounds like. It gives you a +1 bonus to Sleight of Hand skill checks and makes it your class skill if it wasn't already.
  • The fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons has an Urchin option for a character background. It gives a proficiency bonus to Sleight of Hand and Stealth checks, as well as using Disguise Kits and Thieves' Tools. Furthermore, it allows you to cut travel time when wandering around a city, implied to by taking multiple shortcuts the urchin would have discovered as a kid.

    Video Games 
  • Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception reveals that Drake was this when he was a child.
  • Discworld has a stereotypical Street Urchin.
    • "Starfish, sir!"
  • In Angband, there's the "Filthy street urchin". Being a roguelike, you can kill them, though they tend to show up in large gangs.
  • Marco from Skies of Arcadia.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Vaan and Penelo.
  • Annah from Planescape: Torment grew up as the "stealing for her family" variant.
  • Commander Shepard from Mass Effect, if one chooses the Earthborn Pre-Service History.
  • Shows up in many a Fanfiction involving Reno, but this seems to be Word of Dante more than anything else; his backstory really isn't mentioned.
  • Hector: Badge of Carnage 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 ends up adopting him.
  • Garret, protagonist of Thief, used to be one. He got recruited into the order of the Keepers when he tried to pickpocket one of them (an impressive feat, considering they are masters of stealth).
  • Kian Alvane from Dreamfall: The Longest Journey reveals in Dreamfall Chapters to have been one before signing up as a Church Militant.
  • Spyke from the first Splatoon is known to hang out in a back alley, offering services like slot expansions for equipment and ability rerolls at a premium cost. Being a humanoid sea urchin, he's as literal as this trope can possibly get. Murch, another sea urchin, takes his role in following games after seeing how Spyke managed to make enough cash to retire in his twenties.
  • Emma from Pokémon X and Y is a sixteen year old girl who has apparently been living on the streets for years She is eventually taken in by Looker and becomes the successor to his detective ageny.
  • Carte Blanche has the exaggerated example of Kid Butterfly, the newspaper boy. He grew up on the streets (protagonist Edgar comments on his privileged upbringing compared to the kid), and so learned to peddle info and effectively scam people, pulling tricks on Edgar as well.
    Kid Butterfly: And please consider that I have s syphilitic mother to take care of. As well as five illegitimate brothers and sisters!

    Visual Novels 
  • Several characters are this in Rose Guns Days, starting with Wayne, who fled from his abusive foster family and survived alone before being picked up by Rose, after which he swears Undying Loyalty to her. Season 2 also introduces Charles, Nina and Oliver, who are among the many orphans created by the Great Disaster. They were picked up by an old man who offered them shelter in exchange for… taking music lessons. Because they were used to life in the streets though, their appartment is a little bit messy.
  • In Sampaguita, the 3rd game of the 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 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 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.
  • Gina Lestrade from The Great Ace Attorney, who virtually has no faith in adults that she has no qualms in stealing from them. By the second game, she somewhat drops her days as a diver after being offered a position as a rookie inspector under Inspector Gregson's wing thanks to Sholmes suggesting the idea.


    Web Original 
  • Cathalie Meguro and Mitch Gunther of Survival of the Fittest, though they lived in an orphanage instead of on the streets.
  • Sahar, in the Whateley Universe. 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.
  • Eva in Void Domain. Not an orphan and technically has a home though she never visits. Prior to the story starting, she lives out in an abandoned hospital. After she gets a dorm room at the local Wizarding School, she finds another abandoned building to hide some of her more questionable magical equipment.
  • Street orphans in the city of Nebulosis in Trials & Trebuchets turn to pickpocketing and other forms of petty thievery to find treasures to pay to the Djinn Zanak, who in turn allows them to stay in his party palace in the underground City of Ghosts under Nebulosis.
  • While the main characters in Twig are a team of mixed Child Soldiers and Human Weapons, they get on well with the local street children of Radham, who they affectionately refer to as "the Mice," and are extremely protective of them, going out of their way to target those that would prey upon them. When Sy and Mary need to infiltrate another town, they reach out to the Mice, who get them in contact with a man from the city who used to be one but ended up in prison.
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: 12-year old Jamie has run away from home several times and has been on the street for at least nine months after the last instance before Graham finds him. Over this time he has fed himself though theft, begging and selling himself for sex.
  • In this animated adaptation of a stand-up routine by Patton Oswalt, the child from the Christmas Shoes song is depicted this way.
    Patton: "His clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe." So he's like a Dickensian street urchin! In a world full of hand sanitisers, he's, [fake Cockney accent] "Have you got a ha'penny, sir?... Then how about a smile?"

    Western Animation 
  • Tim Drake is portrayed like this in Batman: The Animated Series, 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.
  • Julian from Cybersix.
  • Roxy from Jem ran away from home at age thirteen and lived on herself until joining The Misfits. She apparently joined a non-violent gang. Roxy is secretly illiterate but in a Very Special Episode learns to read.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Mako and his little brother 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 Triple Threat Triad, before being taken in by Toza, who mentored them in 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.
    • The last Earthbender Avatar, Kyoshi, was one of these for a few years as revealed in The Rise of Kyoshi. Her best friend Yun was also one until he was fourteen.
  • Urchin from The Little Mermaid series.
  • The Prince and the Pauper (1995): Tom Canty and (briefly) Prince Edward.
  • Homnibus' adopted son Justin in The Smurfs episode "To Smurf A Thief" was one when he used to go by the name of Dipper.
  • TaleSpin: Word of God (or specifically of Jymn Magon) says that before he took up with Don Karnage's air pirates, Kit Cloudkicker lived on his own, hitching rides or stowing away from one port to another.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Kid Hero Ezra Bridger is this at the start of the show until Kanan takes him as his Jedi apprentice.