The effect of COVID-19 on poverty and material deprivation of children in Austria



We contribute to the raising of empirical evidence on poverty and material deprivation of children in Austria by analysing the respective consequences of the COVID-19 crisis during 2020 and 2021. The study takes a comprehensive approach and analyses different aspects related to child poverty by addressing different concepts and indicators, socio-economic characteristics of children concerned as well as the impact of policy measures (COVID-induced measures, automatic stabilisers, and hypothetical policies) in its entirety and at the level of individual policy interventions.


We aim to answer the following four main research questions (RQs):

  • RQ1: How did the prevalence of at-risk-of-poverty (AROP) and material deprivation of children in Austria develop during the COVID-crisis?
  • RQ2: To what extent did the socio-economic background of children concerned change due to the crisis?
  • RQ3: How effective were COVID-induced policies and automatic stabilisers in counteracting an increase in child poverty and to what extent?
  • RQ4: How would alternative policies to counter child poverty have performed during the COVID-crisis?


For analysing RQs 1&2, latest EU-SILC 2020-2022-data also covering the crisis-years (incomes 2019-2021) will be used. The prevalence of poverty and material deprivation during the crisis will be measured by traditional indicators related to monetary poverty as well as by an innovative index on material deprivation and social exclusion (employing the six dimensions debts and arrears, financial capacity, health, social interaction and personal relationships, housing and local environment quality, and education and care) which was compiled by the European Centre in a former research project for the City of Vienna.

RQs 3&4 will be investigated by using the tax-benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD/SORESI based on respective EU-SILC input data. To investigate the impact of both already existing automatic stabilisers and COVID-induced policy measures (both in their entirety and by individual [groups of] measures) on counteracting child poverty and losses of disposable income for families with children, in RQ3 we will employ a decomposition analysis based on two scenarios: (1) a COVID-world as in reality, and (2) a counterfactual scenario without the COVID-employment and income shock.


Jubiläumsfonds der Oesterreichischen Nationalbank (OeNB), project number 18785


01/2023 – 06/2024