Poverty Patterns during Childhood – Characteristics, Determinants and Impacts on Socio-Emotional Development

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Claudia WENZIG, Institute for Employment Research, Germany
Silke TOPHOVEN, Institute for Employment Research, Germany
Sabrina REITER, Institute for Employment Research, Germany
In Germany – like in most European countries – children and adolescents are still a social group at higher risk of poverty and welfare benefit receipt. However, most official statistics as well as a number of research findings depend on cross-sectional data. Using longitudinal data instead enhances the perspective on poverty trajectories during childhood. As a result, questions of how poverty patterns are characterised and determined arise. Against this background, we examine poverty patterns of children in Germany in a longitudinal perspective as well as their determinants and impacts on children’s socio-emotional development.

We employ the nine waves of the German panel study “Labour Market and Social Security” (PASS), which is an annual household panel survey. In order to gain a more precise picture of low-income households, we distinguish between five different household income situations: “secured income position”, “intermediate income position”, “at risk of poverty”, “receipt of basic social security” and “at risk of poverty and receipt of basic social security”. In order to identify typical poverty patterns, we use sequence analysis in combination with cluster analysis. The results show five differing clusters in terms of changing income situations and the length of poverty. The biggest group of children lives in permanently secured households during their childhood (69 %) whereas a smaller group of children grows up in permanent poverty (12 %). Three other groups experience multiple changes between secured and precarious income situations for short or longer periods (19 % in total). As determinants of poverty cluster affiliation, we identify household and parental characteristics. The results of impacts on child development show that growing up in a low-income family, especially in permanent poverty, restricts children‘s opportunities to participate in social activities and interact with peers.