Mood, Carina , Jonsson, Jan O. | 2015
Social Indicators Research, May 2015, Open Access, DOI 10.1007/s11205-015-0983-9.
Poverty is commonly defined as a lack of economic resources that has negative social consequences, but surprisingly little is known about the importance of economic hardship for social outcomes. This article offers an empirical investigation into this issue. We apply panel data methods on longitudinal data from the Swedish Level-of-Living Survey 2000 and 2010 (n = 3089) to study whether poverty affects four social outcomes—close social relations (social support), other social relations (friends and relatives), political participation, and activity in organizations. We also compare these effects across five different poverty indicators. Our main conclusion is that poverty in general has negative effects on social life. It has more harmful effects for relations with friends and relatives than for social support; and more for political participation than organizational activity. The poverty indicator that shows the greatest impact is material deprivation (lack of cash margin), while the most prevalent poverty indicators—absolute income poverty, and especially relative income poverty—appear to have the least effect on social outcomes.