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"The policies of the government focus on helping the poor people in the provinces."

La politique du gouvernement vise à aider ____ en province.

Should "les gens pauvres", "les personnes pauvres", or just "les pauvres" go into the blank? As far as I know, the difference between "gens" and "personnes" is that "gens" considers the whole group of people whereas "personnes" considers the individuals. So, since the government helps the poor people as a group, should we use "les gens pauvres"?

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I wouldn't recommend les gens pauvres, it somewhat looks like child speak to me.

Les pauvres gens is very idiomatic but might have an stronger meaning than just "poor people". It is not just the fact the people lack money but they are in poor situation. Pauvre gens also convey compassion.

Les personnes pauvres might work but I wouldn't use it in that sentence.

Les pauvres is right but might be avoided for being too direct. Here, pauvres means people with low financial resources.

La politique du gouvernement vise à aider les pauvres en province.

The politically correct expressions that would be used in such a sentence would be:

La politique du gouvernement vise à aider les personnes en situation de pauvreté résidant en province.

or

La politique du gouvernement vise à aider les personnes démunies/défavorisées en province.

Note that en province is also becoming politically incorrect when it means in France excluding Paris area. Nowadays, you'll often hear instead: dans les régions.

| improve this answer | |
  • "les populations démunies" could work in this senting too. – Babika Babaka Oct 31 '16 at 14:03
  • @LookingForAName Yes, that even better match the OP request for a collective (group) name but I'm not sure there is a real need to make a difference between "individuals belonging to a group" and "the group containing these individuals". – jlliagre Nov 1 '16 at 0:43

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