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A hobo is a member of a distinctive sub-culture of homeless, traveling workers in the United States. Hobo culture was most popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and is particularly associated with the railroads, as hobos have the reputation for freight hopping-hitching free rides from place to place in the baggage cars of trains.

Hobos generally apply the term hobo only to itinerant people who work. In contrast, they define a tramp as a itinerant person who does not work, and supports himself by other means e.g. begging or scavenging. Alternatively, a tramp is somebody who prefers to walk or hitchhike rather than ride the rails. A bum is a homeless person who neither travels nor works. Both are terms of derision within the hobo community.

The population of hobos increased during times of economic trouble, and their numbers increased greatly during the Great Depression. With no work and no prospects at home, many decided to travel and try their luck elsewhere.

Nowadays there are few railroad-riding hobos left, though there are still small numbers of them. Some itinerant individuals today travel by car rather than rail, but still identify themselves as hobos.

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