Living Conditions and Costs of the Young Unemployed

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In 1991 the Department of Social Security commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to jointly undertake a study of the living costs and conditions of the young unemployed. The aim of the study was to collect and present data on the incomes, costs and circumstances of the young unemployed, with a focus on providing information which would contribute to assessing the pattern of adequacy afforded by the structure of income support payments. The basis for the study was a personal interview survey of almost 400 single young unemployed people who were receiving income support and living in the Sydney metropolitan area. At one level, the survey findings amount to a detailed description of aspects of the lives of the young unemployed. This alone is of considerable interest, complementing as it does the largely anecdotal or unrepresentative accounts otherwise available. But the real interest in the survey data lies in what they can tell us about the adequacy of payments, and here the study grapples with one of the perennial issues of social policy analysis: how do you measure adequacy? This report describes the pattern of adequacy of income support in terms of expenditure to income ratios, the operation of constraints on various aspects of people's lives, changes in net savings, and people's own perceptions of the incomes they need. These four perspectives, not surprisingly, produce somewhat different pictures. Certain features do, however, emerge repeatedly from each of the perspectives and this has enabled development of a broad picture of the pattern of adequacy provided by income support for the young unemployed.
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King, Anthony
Payne, Tony
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download Reports and Proceedings No 110.pdf 9.11 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
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