Is Leaving Home a Strategy for Young People to Escape Poverty?

Publication type

Conference Paper


Society for the Study of Economic Inequality Conference


Publication date

July 13, 2007


Researchers have recently started to look at youth poverty as distinct from child poverty. However, research has yet to focus on the persistence of youth poverty in European countries. This paper analyses the link between the poverty status of youths after leaving home and the economic status of their family of origin in Southern European countries (Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal). The sample consists of youths, aged between 18 and 32 years old, who left home to a partner. Two approaches are considered. First I model poverty status of those who have left home while, also accounting for the fact that youths from better-off households are more likely to leave home (a sample selection model). This approach considers only whether someone leaves home and the associated poverty status, but not the time that it takes before people leave. This latter aspect is addressed in the second model, which takes an independent competing risks approach. According to estimates from the first model, I find the poverty status of youths in new couples depends positively from the poverty status of their family of origin. This finding has also been confirmed from the estimates of the second model. According to estimates from the second approach I also find that time matters on the probability to leave home non-poor, not on the probability to leave home poor. Both models show that differences among countries are not statically significant, as the difference in the predicted probability to be poor after leaving home has shown.

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