|Poverty in the city of Göteborg, Sweden, from 1925 to 2003|
|This paper examines household income in the city of Göteborg, the second largest city of Sweden, during three quarters of a century with focus on poverty. We use two data bases: The Databas with household income in Göteborg and SWIP ”The Swedish Income Panel”, both based on tax records for several thousand households each year. We describe the extent and profile of poverty 1925, 1936, 1947, 1958, 1983, 1994 and 2003 using alternative poverty lines. While earlier studies of income poverty in Sweden have covered the period since 1975, this is the first analysing earlier years using definitions also applied to the most recent period.
Preliminary results indicate that poverty (measured as having an income less than 60 percent of contemporary median disposable income) decreased from 1925 to 1947 but had increased in 1958. Between 1958 and 1983 we find a large decrease in poverty followed by an increase until 2003 (16,5 percent), to nearly the same level as 1958 (19,0 percent). We also measure poverty as having an income less than the norm for poor relief / social assistance and find less poverty in 2003 than in 1983. In another exercise we keep the purchasing power of the poverty line fixed in an effort to contribute to the discussion of how updating poverty lines affect results on the development of poverty.
An analysis of age groups show large decreases in poverty among the elderly from 50 percent in 1925 to 5,5 percent in 2003 as a result of the development of the pension system. For children and adults we also find a decrease in poverty from 1925 to 1983 but it is followed by an increase to almost the same levels as in 1925 (children = 25,3, adults =17,5 percent) in 2003 (children = 24,5, adults =16,8 percent). Further we study poverty among migrants from other parts of Sweden during the first four years under study (1925, 1936, 1947 and 1958) and international migrants for the latter years under study (1983, 1994 and 2003). It is generally found that poverty among migrants is higher than among non-migrants.
Keywords: poverty, poverty line, social assistance, household, migration, age groups.