Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit

Current Projects

Project Title:

The role of housing and housing providers in tackling poverty experienced by young people in the UK

Project Number:



Michael Oxley (University of Cambridge)
Michael Jones (University of Cambridge)
Anna Clarke (University of Cambridge)
Charlotte Hamilton (University of Cambridge)
Chihiro Udagawa (University of Cambridge)

Start Date:

22 Sept 2015



Poverty among young people is a complex issue with multiple causes. It has been recognised that ‘housing costs induced poverty’ has been increasing over the last two decades in the UK but that low rents have the potential to reduce poverty (Stephens & van Steen, 2011; Tunstall et al 2013). The links between housing and poverty are not always well understood (Tunstall et al,2013). Ensuring that an awareness of poverty issues is core to housing activities is essential (New Policy Institute, 2006; Gordon, et al., 2002). In the early 1990s, the Housing Corporation’s Innovation and Good Practice programme was a key means to tackle poverty faced by Housing Association tenants (New Policy Institute, 2001; New Policy Institute, 2006). However, since then there has been relatively little focus on the links between housing and poverty, or the role that housing providers can play. The academic literature too is relatively undeveloped. Recent work being undertaken by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation goes some way to filling this gap but there is no explicit focus on young people or life transitions. Housing is known to play a critical role in determining the material circumstances and later outcomes of young people who live alone and young people’s poverty is of a particular concern to policy makers, as for some it may be a temporary state, but for others poverty becomes a dominant feature for much of their lives. It is therefore key to understand the transitions that young people make (or don’t make) through poverty and the role that housing plays in this is central.


This SLS project forms a small part of a wider ESRC funded study on “The role of housing and housing providers in tackling poverty experienced by young people in the UK”. The overall study aims are:

  1. To identify measures that work in tackling poverty amongst young people (16 to 25 year olds) who do not live in the parental home, with a focus on housing services and the role that housing providers can play. This will include young people who are not in employment or education as well as those who are.
  2. To investigate the feasibility of implementing these measures in each part of the UK.

One of the workstreams of the study is to provide contextual background to the wider study, we are achieving this by using the 3 UK LS: ONS LS, NILS and SLS. Specifically for the SLS part, by focusing on the, 2001 and 2011 Census data, the project will provide contextual background by looking at two groups of people:

Cohort (1) Those aged 16-25 in 2011 and living outside of the parental home and in poverty. We will examine the circumstances of this group in 2001, when they were children, thus exploring the factors that predict a period of poverty during early adulthood.

Cohort (2) Those aged 16-25 in 2001 and in living outside of the parental home and in poverty. We will examine their circumstances in 2011, thus exploring the factors that enable young people to move out of poverty.

Thus drawing on the SLS data, together with ONS and the Norther Ireland Census Longitudinal datasets, the study will shape the conceptual background of youth poverty and housing across the UK. (That is, our empirical tests which will involves the establishment of research hypothesis and the comparative test drawing on the difference-in-difference approach will use the other datasets (e.g. Understanding Society Data). However, to capture the conceptual background, the SLS data is required.


Gordon, D. et al. (2002) Anti-Poverty Policies for Guernsey, University of Bristol, Bristol.

New Policy Institute, 2001. Housing Associations and Tackling Poverty, s.l.: New Policy Institute.

New Policy Institute, 2006. Registered Social Landlords and Tackling Poverty, s.l.: New Policy Institute.

Stephens, M. & van Steen, G., 2011. 'Housing poverty' and income poverty in England and the Netherlands. Housing Studies, 26(7-8), pp. 1035-1057.

Tunstall, R; Bevan, M; Bradshow, J; Croucher, K; Duffy, S; Hunter, C; Jones, A; Rugg, J; Wallace, A and Wicox, S. 2013. The Links between Housing and Poverty. Joseph Rowntree

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