As the latest OECD Employment Outlook reports, one striking observation is that a majority of high-poverty countries exhibit a relatively high upward income mobility. In contrast, in some low-poverty countries, exit from poverty may be permanent but usually for a life of low income.
Poverty can reflect age, but also working status. In most countries, relative poverty incidence and persistence is higher for lone parents–especially women with children–and less-educated individuals. Individuals in households with no working members have a far higher risk of poverty incidence in the long run. The presence of occasional or part-time workers does not greatly reduce poverty risk.
Also, in many countries, even households with one full-time worker may still encounter poverty, but have a far lower-than-average risk of long-term poverty. In France and the US, one full-time worker might not be enough to prevent households from slipping into poverty at least once, nor even into persistent poverty in Italy or Portugal. However, the presence of a second earner in the family sharply reduces the likelihood of being poor in all countries.
©OECD Observer No 256, July 2006