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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.
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Chapter 1: Social Exclusion and the Life Course

Matt Barnes


Matt Barnes INTRODUCTION The poor shall be taken to mean persons, families and groups of persons where resources (material, cultural and social) are so limited as to exclude them from a minimum acceptable way of life in the Member States in which they live. (European Commission, 1984) This book focuses on poverty, multi-dimensional disadvantage, social exclusion and the life course in six European countries: Austria, Germany, Greece, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom. It is based on a European Union (EU) funded project: ‘Family formation, labour market participation and the dynamics of social exclusion’.1 The main purpose of the book is to investigate indicators of poverty and social exclusion for four risk groups of individuals who might be at particular risk of experiencing these states – young adults, lone parents, sick or disabled people and retired people. A common understanding of terms associated with poverty, multidimensional disadvantage and social exclusion are established, in both policy discussions and policy implementation, in the context of the ‘risk group’ individuals and the country in which they live. The book has three main objectives: 1. 2. to increase the understanding of poverty and multi-dimensional disadvantage in Europe and to identify indicators of social exclusion; to examine and compare the extent and impact of poverty and multidimensional disadvantage among individuals in four high risk groups – young adults, lone parents, sick or disabled people and retired people and to establish the ways in which the policies of Member States affect the risk of poverty, multi-dimensional disadvantage...

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