Youth poverty is a serious global problem, not least because of the
large numbers of youth and children living in absolute poverty in
developing countries. In many contexts, youth are relatively likely to
experience poverty because of age-based discrimination and the
uncertainties and dynamism surrounding the transition from childhood to
adulthood. But it is not always the case that youth are
disproportionately poor. The relative extent of youth poverty in a given
context depends on the interaction of many different factors.
This paper draws upon work by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre to
argue that the related concepts of chronic poverty, life-course poverty
and intergenerational poverty are useful for understanding youth
poverty. First, analysis of the causes of chronic poverty can help
locate the relative position of different groups of the poor and
facilitate policy prioritisation. Second, life-course events (e.g.
leaving school, starting work, having children) play a significant role
in shaping vulnerability to poverty. These 'life events' are more
likely to occur during particular 'life stages', but stage is only
partly related to age. Third, it is important to take an
intergenerational perspective because poverty experienced in youth is
often linked to parental poverty and childhood deprivation, and - like
poverty in childhood or old age - can have implications across the
life-course of a young person and that of her/his household.
At the same time that youth may not always be among the poorest or the
most vulnerable, adolescence and young adulthood may be the period,
after early childhood, in which antipoverty interventions have the most
potential for long-term positive change. Constructing and analysing
developing country panel datasets (quantitative and qualitative) can
foster the development of suitable interventions, appropriately timed.
Thinking about youth poverty through the lenses of chronic poverty, life-course poverty and intergenerational poverty, CPRC Working Paper No. 57, IDPM/Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), ISBN Number: 1-904049-56-7, 26 pp.
Thinking about youth poverty through the lenses of chronic poverty, life-course poverty and intergenerational poverty, CPRC Working Paper No. 57