While child poverty is everywhere seen as an important social problem, there is considerable variation in both anti-poverty policies and poverty outcomes across the industrialized nations. In this paper we present new estimates of patterns of child income poverty in 25 nations using data from the Luxembourg Income Study. These estimates are presented using a range of alternative income poverty definitions and describe the correlations of outcomes with different demographic patterns and labour market and social transfer incomes. The paper also tests the robustness of these results to different poverty definitions and to more comprehensive measurements of child living standards. Evidence on cross-national patterns of non-cash income receipt suggests that more comprehensive measures, which include non-cash benefits would be unlikely to change the overall pattern of poverty. We then examine the impact of household savings patterns (particularly via house purchase) on child consumption and conclude that this also does not change the picture provided by income measures alone. The paper concludes with an analysis of the sources of the variation in child poverty across nations. Much of the previous literature has focused on the differences in welfare state institutions and social transfer outcomes. Our results, on the other hand, suggest that variations in the market incomes received by the families of disadvantaged children are more important.
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