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