I doubt I'm alone in saying that financial independence is a qualifier for "success" in terms of the American way of life.
The other aspects you're talking about, housing, electricity, etc. are pretty much functions of the quality of life we try and maintain in this country, and not really measurements of success.
Here's an example... my mom.
My parents split up and the divorce cost them pretty much everything. They then decided to try and work it out, but shortly afterwards, my Dad died of a heart attack while self-employed. He left her with an almost 6 digit medical bill, so she had to sell the house, and lived with friends for awhile. Eventually my oldest brother started renting a house out to her, and she worked for awhile. The hospital eventually took her to court, and they put a judgement on her for the amount of the remainder of the bill. She's been living in poverty off social security since.
She's not been "successful". But she has housing and basic amenities.
I'd be willing to bet this is more of the exception than the rule for low income families. Hell, our housing market should indicate that.
In my experience, its generally the rule, not the exception.
My parents also split up when I was young. And by split up, I mean our father abandoned us and took off to live with someone else. We lived in poverty for a while, until my mom married a good man who worked in a factory. Even then, we weren't wealthy, but we were comfortable, especially compared to how we were before.
I joined the Navy when I was older, and when I got out, my military experience got me a job in a bank. Both my sisters went to college. The older one went to college after she got a job. She has a good (not great) job with a natural gas company and her husband repairs factory equipment. They have a very good life. The youngest one had the easiest life and ironically, has struggle the most after college, because she married a guy who is unwilling to work. Hasn't had a job in over a year now, and doesn't even try to get one.
I guess we are all colored by our own experience, but imo those that work hard and make wise decisions (especially in marriage and finance) can be very successful, while the lazy and unwise have it much harder. There are certainly exceptions to that rule, but I believe most of the time it applies.