The recent focus on reducing the extent of child poverty in the UK stems mainly from worries about the future consequences of poverty on children's later achievement. With this background in mind, it is clearly crucial to improve our understanding of the costs of growing up poor. This report explores the strength of the link between childhood poverty and poverty later in life, and asks whether this link has grown stronger or weaker in recent decades. This report uses information on the incomes of two British cohorts to address the following questions: how large is the transmission of poverty between a teenager's parents' circumstances and their own circumstances when they are in their early 30s? By how much has the strength of this transmission of poverty changed between the two cohorts that were teenagers in the 1970s and the 1980s and how far do the effects of early disadvantage continue to be felt as individuals reach middle age? This report will be of interest to policy makers and academics who are concerned with understanding the factors that shape the life-chances of poor children.
Jo Blanden is a lecturer in economics at the University of Surrey. She was formerly a research officer at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics while carrying out this research and remains a research associate at the Centre. Steve Gibbons is a lecturer in the Department of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics. He is a research associate at the Centre for Economic Performance.
Introduction; Measuring poverty; The persistence of poverty from childhood to adulthood; The persistence of poverty from teens to middle age; Poverty and disadvantage in childhood and adulthood; Explaining the persistence of poverty and its change over time; Summary and policy recommendations.