Decomposing Youth Poverty in 22 Countries
B. Young Adults and Poverty from an International
A high proportion of young adults and households headed by
young adults live in poverty in Western countries (Aassve et al.,
2013; Ayllón, 2015; Iacovou, 2009). Aassve et al. (2013) reported
that in 2005 the poverty rate for young adults aged 18-24 ranged
from 10% in Slovenia to 34% in Denmark. In Scandinavia, 17% to
34% of young adults lives below the poverty line. At the peak of
the global financial crisis (GFC), the poverty rate for 18- to
24-year-olds skyrocketed. The younger they were when they left
the parental home, the more financially disadvantaged they were.
Recent studies have used longitudinal data to address the
persistence and dynamics of youth poverty. Although Scandinavian
young adults are at high risk of poverty, they leave poverty more
quickly than their counterparts in Southern Europe (Ayllón, 2015;
Mendola et al., 2009).
There are cross-country differences in the risk of poverty
between young adults and other age groups. Although Scandinavian
countries have little overall and child poverty, the risk of poverty
for young adults is high (Luxembourg Income Study [LIS], 2016).
In contrast, young people in East Asia are more financially secure
than older adults. For example, in 2006, South Korean households
headed by young adults had a poverty rate of 8% versus 40% for
households headed by Korean older adults (LIS, 2016; Tai, 2012).
Researchers have attributed this variation in youth poverty
across countries to the interplay of the family, the market, and
social welfare (Esping-Andersen, 1990, 1999). The following
sections review research on the connection of youth poverty to
C. Social Welfare Regimes
Cross-national disparities in youth economic well-being stem
from differences in national welfare systems that define the