Decomposing Youth Poverty in 22 Countries
It is often said that young people are our future. Unfortunately,
not all young adults are hopeful about their economic prospects.
Many young adults live in poverty (Aassve, Cottini, & Vitali, 2013;
Tai, 2012). Chronic poverty in young adulthood can lead to
various forms of disadvantage later in life (Vandecasteele, 2011). A
comprehensive investigation of the structural factors leading to
youth poverty is imperative for enhancing the well-being of
individuals throughout the life course.
The expansion of the welfare state has brought social
provisions that have lifted many children and older adults out of
poverty. However, variations in welfare provisions do not account
for international differences in the risk of youth poverty. Previous
descriptive analyses have shown high rates of youth poverty in
Scandinavian countries where welfare policies feature high social
expenditures, comprehensive coverage, and generous benefits.
Conversely, low rates of youth poverty have been observed in
societies with limited social expenditures and benefits (e.g. East
Multi-level and multi-dimensional processes determine the
life course (Dewilde, 2003; Mayer & Schoepflin, 1989). A
combination of factors shapes individual well-being. Esping-
Andersen (1999) suggests that social welfare, the family, and the
market are essential components of the welfare mix. Indeed,
household composition is the key determinant of young adults’
economic well-being (Aassve et al., 2013; Iacovou, 2009). Previous
studies have revealed a significant increase in poverty for young
adults after they leave their parental home (Ayllón, 2015; Mendola,
Busetta, & Aassve, 2009), particularly in Scandinavian countries.
If family structure heavily affects young adults’ economic
security, do varying levels of social welfare provisions contribute to
cross-national variations in youth poverty? How does the relative
deprivation in market income affect cross-national differences in