Low Incomes and Change: Managing Instability

David Young

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


Longitudinal research has added to our understanding of the dynamics of low-income, challenging static conceptions of poverty. There is a growing body of evidence showing that people often move in and out of poverty from one year to the next (Jenkins, 2011). But there is very little research that focusses on income, expenditure and circumstance change within the year. One study that does look within the year is Hills et al (2006) who find greater income variation for those on the lowest incomes and that the yearly income of a sample of working families was not very representative of their income in shorter periods. Narratives of increasing labour market and societal insecurity and ongoing change within the social security system also raise questions of how people manage the financial consequences of change over relatively short time periods.
This paper will present early findings from an ongoing PhD project on low-income and change, and what this means for how people experience and manage instability. Qualitative interviews and a diary concept have been used to monitor the income, expenditure and circumstances of a small sample of low-income households over a three-month period. How do the incomes, expenditure and circumstances of low-income households change over short periods? How do they experience and manage income and expenditure variation and circumstance change that has financial consequences?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Policy Association Conference
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2018
EventSocial Policy Association Conference - 2018 - University of York, York, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jul 201813 Jul 2018


ConferenceSocial Policy Association Conference - 2018
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


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