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Continuity and Change in Pathways to Young Adult Disadvantage: Results from a British Birth Cohort


  • John Hobcraft


A life-course account of the pathways to adult social exclusion for children born in 1958 is explored. We identify the pervasive childhood factors, associated with a wide range of adult disadvantage, and specific life-course domain antecedents. Childhood disadvantage has more powerful legacies for women than for men: pathways to social exclusion are gendered. Experiences of disadvantage between ages 16 and 23 relate as closely to outcomes at age 33 as at age 23. The excess legacy of childhood disadvantage for women is mediated through lone motherhood. There are strong continuities and interconnections across the life-course in the legacies of earlier disadvantage. Unemployment or divorce between ages 23 and 33 promote disadvantage at age 33 and the legacies of divorce are more powerful for women. The implications for our understanding of the processes of social exclusion and the need for policy responses tailored according to lifetime patterns of disadvantage are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • John Hobcraft, 2003. "Continuity and Change in Pathways to Young Adult Disadvantage: Results from a British Birth Cohort," CASE Papers case66, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case66

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hills, John & Ditch, John & Glennerster, Howard (ed.), 1994. "Beveridge and Social Security: An International Retrospective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288060, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Hobcraft, 2008. "The timing and partnership context of becoming a parent," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(34), pages 1281-1322, July.
    2. Buchanan, A., 2006. "Children aged 0-13 at risk of social exclusion: Impact of government policy in England and Wales," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1135-1151, October.
    3. Ayllón, Sara, 2009. "Modelling state dependence and feedback effects between poverty, employment and parental home emancipation among European youth," Working Papers 10, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Spencer, Nick, 2006. "Explaining the social gradient in smoking in pregnancy: Early life course accumulation and cross-sectional clustering of social risk exposures in the 1958 British national cohort," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(5), pages 1250-1259, March.

    More about this item


    intergenerational transmission; disadvantage; gender;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion


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