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Decomposing Youth Poverty in 22 Countries


are eligible for only limited benefits (Peng & Wong, 2008).

In short, high levels of youth poverty are observed in

advanced welfare regimes and low poverty risks in less developed

welfare states. It seems that social welfare does not apply to the

alleviation of youth poverty. Further investigation is required to

understand the structural effects on youth poverty in welfare states.

D. The Family and Welfare Regimes

Cultural differences in family structure have contrasted the

familial values of Eastern and Southern Europe with the

individualism of Northern and Western Europe (Laslett, 1988;

Reher, 1998). Welfare state regime differences in poverty rates

reflect not only distinctive state welfare programs for poverty

alleviation, but also cultural strategies that shape individual

decisions to safeguard economic well-being through coresidence.

States incorporate cultural norms with welfare policies that

either weaken or maintain the family’s role as a buffer against

poverty. In advanced welfare states, such as Scandinavian countries,

responsibilities for support shift from the family to the state

(Esping-Andersen, 1999). The social provisions for families with

children are moderate in conservative countries like Germany and

the Netherlands, low in liberal regimes like the US and the UK, and

even lower in Southern Europe, but not as low as in East Asia,

where people still rely on the family when they are in economic


The family has traditionally been a significant safety net for

personal economic security. Coresidence can reduce poverty

because it permits pooling of income and the sharing of housing

and other expenses. The pattern of living arrangements differs

cross-nationally, likely due to differences in social norms, the

demographic availability of kin, and financial need (Kiernan, 1986).

For instance, in 2010, the percentage of individuals aged 18-35

living with their parents ranged from 14% in Denmark to 60% in