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Social Assistance Receipt Among Young Adults Who Grow Up in Different Neighborhoods of Metropolitan Sweden

Journal article
Authors Björn Gustafsson
Katarina Katz
Torun Österberg
Published in Poverty & Public Policy
Volume 11
Issue 4
Pages 302-324
ISSN 1944-2858
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Social Work
Pages 302-324
Language en
Keywords Neighborhood effects, Intergenerational correlations, Visible minorities, Sweden, Social assistance
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Social and Economic Geography, Economics, Social Work


Using large samples of persons born in 1985, we investigate the relationship between characteristics of the neighborhood where young people lived as adolescents and the probability that they will receive social assistance when aged 19, 20, and 21, for the three Swedish metropolitan regions—Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. We estimated logistic regressions separately for the majority population and “visible immigrants” and included several characteristics of the neighborhood and of the parental home in the specification. The probability of social assistance receipt as a young adult is strongly positively linked to social assistance receipt in the parental home and to several other factors. The major result is that the association with social assistance receipt in the neighborhood where a person lived at age 16 remains strong when parental receipt and a number of other neighborhood characteristics are controlled for.We conclude that measures to increase the education qualifications and various efforts to create jobs for young adults have the potential to decrease social assistance receipt among young adults. In addition, there is also room for spatially focused measures aiming to reduce residential segregation and the demand for social assistance in locations with a comparably high rate of social assistance receipt.

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