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A review of poverty dynamics research in the UK

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posted on 13.07.2007, 13:11 by Noel Smith, Sue Middleton
Dynamics research presents a dramatically more comprehensive understanding of poverty than point-in-time studies. While point-in-time studies provide a static ‘snap shot’ of the population at a given single moment, dynamics or longitudinal research traces the same individuals or households over time and so is able to record stories of change. Research on poverty dynamics in the UK has taken root since the 1990s. This study aimed to gather and refl ect on existing poverty dynamics literature in order to: • examine the different forms of poverty, how different social groups experience it, and how people enter and leave poverty; • understand the implications for policy aimed at tackling poverty and disadvantage; and • highlight priorities for further research. The researchers conclude that the concept of ‘the poor’ given by point-in-time studies is misleading: poverty dynamics fi nds a broad population with diverse experiences of poverty, reveals who moves in and out of poverty and why, and sheds light on how life chances are stacked against certain individuals and families. However, there appears to be no clear understanding of poverty dynamics in current UK social policy. Progress to eradicate poverty has been held back by a failure to target persistent poverty and to safeguard against re-entry to poverty.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Research Unit

  • Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP)


Smith, N. and Middleton, S. (2007) A Review of Poverty Dynamics Research in the UK. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


© Loughborough University

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This report was prepared by CRSP on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It is also available at: http://www.jrf.org.uk/bookshop/eBooks/2040-poverty-dynamics-review.pdf.





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