Expenditure behavior of families and the subjective situation of materially poor children in Baden-Württemberg

For the very first “Poverty and Wealth Report Baden-Württemberg”, the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAW) in Tübingen has been selected by the Family Research Baden-Württemberg (FaFo) (situated at the state bureau of statistics) to carry out the research project “Expenditure behavior of families in Baden-Württemberg“ and “The subjective situation of materially poor children in Baden-Württemberg”.

Research so far has mainly focused on the income of families in Baden-Württemberg, whereas their expenditure behavior remained largely unexplored. The aim of this research project is therefore to deal with this very topic by providing quantitative and qualitative results about the amount and composition of family expenditures, in order to identify their economic needs and how the concerned households experience their financial situation. One part is to compare expenditure behaviors between poor families and wealthier families. For the quantitative analysis, we use the “Income and Expenditure Sample” (EVS 2008) provided by Essaylamba.com and the German Federal Statistical Office. In addition, guided interviews with parents who are either structurally disadvantaged or at risk of poverty will be led to analyze the relationship between their subjective perception of poverty and their consumption decisions.

Closely related to the expenditure behavior of families is the subjective situation of materially poor children. Consequently, another aim of this research project is to illustrate how children at risk of poverty subjectively experience their situation and to investigate their individual coping strategies in order to gain knowledge about their capacity to act. For these aims, it is crucial to consider children as experts, who are able to report about their perceptions. To get good results, the conversations will be structured and performed with communication-enhancing techniques.

Families who are at risk of poverty spend compared to wealthier families commonly more than their income on current expenses of their households. The resulting gap must then be covered by credits or savings. Especially the expenditures on health and mobility of financially disadvantaged families are relatively low, whereas the expenditures on residence and food swallow up half of their income.

Important to point out is that poverty is nothing, you can clearly see at first glance. Children living in families who are at risk of poverty do express happiness and satisfaction in their lives, especially if their parents are integrated in networks and socialize with others. Another important aspect that has an impact on the wellbeing of children is the parents’ strategy of opening their children’s capacity to act by self-denial, in order to give them the chance to grow up without experiencing any restrictions.

Commissioned by:

Family Research Baden-Württemberg (FaFo) in the State Bureau of Statistics

Project team:

Contact Person:
Andrea Kirchmann ( +49 7071 9896 33 // E-Mail )


2014 - 2014