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