Ten year transitions in children’s experience of living in a workless household: variations by ethnic group
Platt, L. (2010) Population Trends, 139(Spring), Office for National Statistics. 25 March 2010. [ONS LS]
Over the last few decades, there has been an increase in the proportion of children growing up in workless households, that is households in which no adult member is in paid work. This proportion has stabilised, and has declined slightly in recent years. Worklessness among households with children is viewed as a cause for concern for two reasons: firstly, because children in workless households are much more likely to be growing up in poverty; secondly, because of concern that worklessness in families with children may be subject to intergenerational transmission.
We know surprisingly little about children’s experience of household worklessness over time, particularly over their childhood as a whole, even though worklessness is heavily implicated in higher poverty risks. Children from most minority ethnic groups are at substantially higher risk of household worklessness than those from the majority. For some ethnic groups, children’s rates of living in a workless household are associated with high rates of lone parenthood. For others it is worklessness in couple parent families that predominates. This article uses the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Longitudinal Study to explore differences in risks of worklessness over time, among ethnic groups within a single cohort of children who are observed at two time points, 10 years apart.