Children, ethnicity and workless households

Lucinda Platt, University of Essex and Laura Adelman, Department of Work and Pensions

[Project number 30096]

Child poverty is a subject of substantial policy and academic interest. Despite targets to reduce child poverty overall and despite some recognition of the higher poverty risks faced by people from minority ethnic groups, analysis of child poverty and ethnicity is not extensive. The work for the LS forms part of a wider study attempting to fill some of the gaps in knowledge and understanding of child poverty - both its nature and contributory factors. This involves looking at the income sources in poor households with children from different ethnic groups, as well as the characteristics of poor and non-poor families and how they vary by ethnicity. One interest is to have a better grasp on duration of poverty. This is hard to do with existing sources, but the LS offers the opportunity to look longitudinally at worklessness between one decade and the next. While this will disguise all the movement that takes place in between censuses, it will provide some sort of proxy for persistent poverty, alongside other partial measures and in the absence of sources for robust measurement of poverty persistence and poverty dynamics.

The aim of the LS analysis is to investigate long-term (10 year) stability in living in a workless household and variation by ethnic group. That is, it will investigate whether your children living in workless households in 1991 are also doing so in 2001. It will also compare these probabilities with those between 1981 and 1991, to the extent that the data allow.