Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe

Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe

Matt Barnes, Christopher Heady, Sue Middleton, Jane Millar, Fotis Papadopoulos, Graham Room and Panos Tsakloglou

There are estimated to be almost 60 million people living in poverty throughout the European Union. This bleak statistic underlines the value of this important book which explores the nature and extent of poverty and social exclusion in six European countries, namely: Austria, Germany, Greece, Norway, Portugal and the UK. The book focuses on four ‘life course’ groups who might be considered particularly at risk: young adults, lone parents, the sick and disabled, and the retired.


Jane Millar, Sue Middleton and Jane Millar

Subjects: social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Jane Millar and Sue Middleton There are estimated to be almost 60 million people across the European Union living in poverty, defined as having incomes below half the average for their country. Poverty rates vary from country to country, as do the types of families and households most at risk of poverty, and the circumstances in which poor people live. This raises many questions about the ways in which markets, families and state provisions combine in various ways to produce distinct welfare outcomes in different countries. Our capacity to analyse and understand the nature and causes of these cross-national variations has been greatly enhanced in recent years by related theoretical and methodological developments. On the theoretical side, the increasing interest in ‘social exclusion’ has focused attention away from narrow income-based definitions of poverty to much broader and multi-dimensional definitions of economic and social disadvantage, and to the processes by which these are linked in place and time. There has also been an increased interest in the dynamics of poverty and social exclusion and how individuals and families change their status over time. This has involved both longitudinal studies, following the same people over time, and life-course analysis, focusing on what happens to people as they face particular ‘risk’ situations, such as illness or divorce. Methodologically, the creation of large data sets that provide detailed social and economic information on individuals and households over periods of several years has made multi-dimensional, dynamic and lifecourse analyses much more...