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What living
in poverty means

What children from poor families have to learn to do without

Children from poor families are at a disadvantage in many different ways. Sometimes there is not enough room at home to find a quiet place to study. Sometimes they would like to learn to play a musical instrument, ski, join a sports club, go to the cinema with their buddies but there is not enough for club membership or a cinema ticket. Right up at the top of things they have to go without are holidays: a single week per year, away from home, is still a dream for many children.

Single parents tend to be over-represented in statistics concerning people experiencing poverty. This is because separations in Switzerland still involve a high risk of poverty. A single household is split in two. And, for example, there is not enough vital maintenance (alimony): someone with a low salary can only pay a little alimony. Although most parents make an effort so that their children suffer as little as possible from their plight, these are often the victims.

What consequences do precarious living conditions have for children

When children are isolated with limited play opportunities at home, they lack important life experi-ences that they will not be able to catch up on later. If they have no access to early learning be-cause kindergartens are too expensive, they will start school at a disadvantage. Having their own birthday party can no longer be taken for granted. They rarely bring buddies home to play because they are ashamed of their surroundings. Basic requirements like winter clothes, the dentist and healthy food are often beyond reach. The risk of being ill or being excluded from the group is thus much larger.

What young people have to contend with

What young people have to contend with

The situation for young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds is often already difficult at school. Funds are not available, for instance, for providing private lessons when adoles-cents have trouble keeping up with the curriculum. After finishing school they frequently find themselves on the job market faced with school grades and social requirements they cannot match. They have more trouble finding a training position than other young people. They require more support while training. And the number of jobs on the market for low-skilled workers has been shrinking for years.