Matthew Curry, Melbourne Institute - Poverty dynamics among Australian children, 2001 - 2017

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Title: Poverty dynamics among Australian children, 2001 - 2017

Abstract: More than one in seven Australian children are poor. Social scientists have consistently found that experiencing poverty during childhood is associated with a range of negative outcomes throughout the life course, including lower educational attainment, lower earnings in adulthood, and worse physical and mental health. Using 17 years of longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, this paper (1) tests whether several individual, parental, and contextual factors predict poverty for children in a given year, (2) assesses the state dependence of childhood poverty, and (3) analyzes poverty reentry among children whose households have previously escaped poverty. Parental education, experiencing a parent moving out of the household, and a parent experiencing unemployment are among the most important correlates of childhood poverty. Furthermore, I find evidence that childhood poverty is state dependent. That is, after controlling for many observable characteristics and unobserved heterogeneity, being poor in a given year increases the likelihood of experiencing poverty in the following year. Finally, the majority of children who escape poverty in a given year will go on to experience poverty in at least one of the next four years, suggesting that many of those children who escape poverty nevertheless continue to experience economic insecurity throughout childhood.

Presenter: Matthew Curry, Melbourne Institute

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