How many people in the world today are extremely poor? This simple question is, perhaps unsurprisingly, extremely difficult to answer. However, since 1990, The World Bank has attempted to provide an answer by publishing comprehensive estimates of “extreme poverty” that are now widely used to monitor and appraise global policy and poverty reduction strategies. This is the well-known “dollar-a-day” international poverty line, based originally on a sample of developing country’s national poverty lines from the 1980s. (The so-called “dollar-a-day” now stands at $1.90 per day in light of updated global price data.)
Since the 1980s, policies have increasingly encouraged housing provision by the private market. Programs to de-commodify housing such as rent regulations or social housing programs have gradually been terminated and replaced by policies to promote the delivery of housing through profit-making actors. Selling or demolishing social housing, liberalizing rents, or promoting homeownership have come to dominate the policy landscape, not just in Britain or the US, but also across many Western European countries. Programs such as the British Right-To-Buy, HOPE VI in the US, or the Dutch urban restructuring program are widely known, if only exemplary of this wider trend.
In the United States, just under half (48.1%) of partnered women aged 25–44 using contraception rely on sterilization for fertility control. In our recent study, Gender, Class, and Contraception in Comparative Context: The Perplexing Links between Sterilization and Disadvantage (2016), Megan Sweeney and I show that levels of contraceptive sterilization are similarly high in Australia (39.6% of partnered women aged 25–44 using contraception), but they tend to be much lower and more variable across Europe. With the exception of Australia and Belgium, female sterilization is more common than male sterilization in all of the countries studied (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Romania, Russia, and the United States), despite the latter being simpler, more effective, less often regretted, more economical, and having lower rates of minor and major complications.
The well-being of the elderly in any society is important as improved health facilities and policies have made the elderly population among one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the world today. In India the elderly population has grown from about 19.8 million in 1951 to 100 million in 2011 and the projections indicate that the number of persons older than sixty years is likely to increase to 198 million by 2030 (Government of India, 2008; ET, 2012). The growing share of the elderly population may have severe consequence in a country like India where the credit and financial markets are not adequately developed.
Improving educational attainment is important for achieving population targets and meeting economic development goals in low-income countries. Over the past few decades, targeted stipend programs have been used to improve the school attainment in poor populations in countries as diverse as Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil. The principal behind these programs is simple: cash or in-kind incentives are provided to targeted poor households conditional upon children’s school attendance. Evaluations of stipend programs show positive impacts across contexts: stipend programs improve enrollment and attainment and – in some cases – delay the start of marriage and childbearing. Continue reading
While there is increasing support for same-sex parent families and recent state-wide legalization of marriages to same-sex couples in the U.S., there is only a small body of research that examines the economic, academic, social, or psychological well-being of children living in same-sex parent families (Manning et al. 2014). There are increasing numbers of children residing in same-sex couple parent families, but a key constraint has been that there are relatively few data sets with ample numbers of children residing in same-sex parent families.
The age group above retirement age is the fastest growing age group in many countries. As most diseases and disorders occur in higher ages, this implies that there will be higher demands on the health care and pension systems. Even though many have argued that societies are facing an economic and demographic challenge, it is arguably also a great success; more people reach old age and live longer. But some groups of individuals tend to be healthier than others.
The current flows of people migrating from Syria and other war-torn countries have captured public attention. It has become clear that governments in Europe are ill-prepared to deal with the large scale displacement and movement of people. Much of public debate has centred on ‘spreading the burden’ of accommodating and integrating refugees within national and local communities. Yet migration can – and does – influence the supply of skills and expertise within the labour market.
Have you ever ticked an answer box on a form or survey because it was the best choice available, even though it didn’t quite fit your experience? While that may be frustrating, for most people it has no direct bearing on their daily life. But what if your response had an immediate financial impact on whether or not you lived above or below the poverty line? That would be more than just frustrating and you’d probably demand a change in how your information was recorded.
While many inequalities are extensively researched, particularly around income and health, it is perhaps surprising to still find other inequalities that are barely mentioned in the literature. Yet this is true for one inequality around disability and work: almost no research focuses on why some people with disabilities are working and others are not, even when they have the same disabilities. What are the advantages that enable some – but only some, usually better-educated – sick and disabled people to stay attached to the labour market?