Conference Paper Joint Empirical Social Science Seminar
Youth Poverty in Europe: What do we know?
25 May 2005
This paper has two purposes: to review the literature on poverty among young people, and to present descriptive statistics on the extent of youth poverty across Europe. We find that although there is a well-developed literature on poverty among households in general, and on specific subgroups such as children and older people, very little research has focused on poverty among young adults. Using the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) we find that the extent of youth poverty varies greatly across the European Union, being higher in Southern European countries, as well as in the 'liberal' regimes of the UK and Ireland. This result is not unexpected, since these are countries where underlying rates of poverty among the general population are high. However, there are also large variations in the extent of youth poverty within countries, between what we might term 'younger youth' (aged 16-19) and 'older youth' aged (25-29). In the UK, poverty rates among 'younger youth' are much higher than among 'older youth', suggesting that poverty among young people is closely associated with child poverty. However, in the Scandinavian ountries, poverty peaks dramatically in the early twenties, indicating that in these countries, poverty is associated with leaving home.