The recession affected far more families than those historically at risk of poverty and disadvantage, according to new research.
An analysis of its impact by the ESRI found that by 2011-12, it had spread beyond the most economically vulnerable traditionally, such as lone parents and the poorly educated, to couples with families and higher levels of education.
This change in the profile of families at risk and the growth in numbers affected was driven by loss of employment and earnings during the recession, making economic vulnerability “more widespread” and impacting “not only a larger group, but a more diverse group than those historically at risk of disadvantage and poverty”.
Drawing on data relating to children born in 1998 and 2008 from the ‘Growing Up in Ireland’ survey, a national longitudinal study of children, the researchers analysed the impact of the recession on the families of both cohorts.
They found that, among the 1998 cohort, the percentage of economically vulnerable children living with two parents in two-children households in 2007-08 had doubled from 11% to 22% by 2011-12.
The authors of the report, ‘The Impact of the Great Recession on Families with Children’, said their findings confirm that policy and political challenges presented by the scale of the recession “go well beyond catering for groups previously characterised by a high dependence on social welfare”.
Even though their analysis had shown the recession had a more far-reaching affect than those traditionally impacted, the authors said it remained the case that there was strong association between persistent poverty and single parenthood and low levels of parental education.
This highlighted the “importance of education and skills acquisition, particularly for those at risk of early school leaving”, the authors said.
The research can be accessed at esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/RB20150304.pdf
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