Skip to main content

Study reveals children’s risk of poverty

Resource type: News

Irish Examiner |

CHILDREN who grow up in households where their parents are poorly educated or not in the labour force are at greater risk of poverty, a report has shown. The study, published today by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), also indicates that lone parents are also vulnerable to social exclusion and when they do fall into poverty they face disproportionate levels of deprivation. Another group shown to be vulnerable is older people who live alone, and who, according to one of the authors of the report, have fallen through the cracks and whose needs have not been addressed through welfare initiatives. The data in the study is based on analysis of the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions Report from 2005. Entitled The Life Cycle: Perspective on Social Inclusion in Ireland, the ESRI report looks at life cycles – childhood, old age, et cetera – and socio-economic factors, and the changing face of the family in Ireland. Compiled by Professor Chris Whelan and Bertrand Maitre for the ESRI, it also points to the need for more nuanced budgetary measures to protect the most vulnerable, at a time when many charities and support groups fear Government cuts because of the economic downturn. Prof Whelan said that while the overall picture regarding social inclusion is better now than in previous decades, certain groups are particularly vulnerable and suffer more if they slip into poverty. Living standards have improved, but one of the distinctive things about Ireland is that the price of being poorly educated or not in the labour market is relatively high compared to other countries in Europe, he said. They pay a much higher price and children in particular pay a much higher price. He said the same scenario was true of many lone parent households, as in Ireland it appears hard to combine caring for children with linking into the labour market. The report also finds that working age adults are generally found to be in a relatively advantaged position, while lone parents and older people living alone tend to experience more problems. Older people also experience higher likelihood of being at risk of poverty, but are below average levels of consistent poverty. Prof Whelan said the study also indicated that new policies needed to be based on a continuous measurement of social inclusion, adding that in Ireland we are very poor at knowing what happens to social inclusion over time.