I’m hoping that I’m joining many other blogs today to talk about Poverty. In the guidance for joining Blog Action Day it suggests that bloggers keep their posts related to the subject they usually blog about. So I guess that means I’ll be looking at young people and poverty.
I’ve been wondering what to write about and how to do this so intially I thought that I would start by goggling “youth poverty”. This threw up a number of interesting facts that I wasn’t aware of. In October 2007 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation did some research into youth poverty in Europe. A few of comments that struck me were:-
“Young Europeans in their late teens and early twenties are at a higher risk of poverty than all other groups except for children and older people. The risk of poverty declines significantly in the late twenties.”
“Having children is associated with a greater risk of poverty, especially in the year after birth. This ‘poverty penalty’ is highest in the UK, but in Scandinavian countries having children carries no extra risk of poverty due to their ‘child-friendly’ policies.”
“There are large variations between countries. Poverty rates among 20- to 24-year-olds range from eight per cent in Austria to 30 per cent in Finland (compared with eleven per cent for the whole population). The UK rate of 20 per cent is towards the upper end of the scale.”
I know that this info is a year old but I’m guessing that it hasn’t changed that much in that time span, and the UK doesn’t come out of it too good does it?!? Also in browsing I found out that The National Youth Agency is a supporter of the End Child Poverty Campaign and also carries information on ending Child Poverty on it’s website.
So what are the Key Facts
- 3.9 million children are living in poverty in the UK (after housing costs)
- The proportion of children living in poverty grew from 1 in 10 in 1979 to 1 in 3 in 1998. Today, 30 per cent of children in Britain are living in poverty.
- Since 1999, when the current Government pledged to end child poverty, 600,000 children have been lifted out of poverty.
- The UK has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised world
- The majority (54 per cent) of poor children live in a household where at least one adult works.
- 43 per cent of poor children live in a household headed by a lone parent. The majority of poor children (57 per cent) live in a household headed by a couple.
- 42% of children in poverty are from families with 3 or more children
For me in practice what I often see is not only the physical poverty that children and young people are living in but stemming from it is (unsurprisingly) a lack of aspiration, a feeling of hopelessness and detachment that pervades their whole lives. So what can we do about it?!?! There’s campaigning as already stated. For me, in my area of work what I’m trying to focus on, as well as dealing with the day to day reality of some young people’s lives, is raising aspirations and looking at programmes and projects that may inspire and support them to see that there is potentially a way out of their current experiences. Following today I will also reflect on what more I can do across the service