Social Indicators Research, May 2016, vol. 127 (1), pp. 341-360.
More than 5 years since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, a flurry of evidence is emerging on the effects of the ensuing economic downturn on unemployment and poverty rates in rich countries, but less is known about cross-country differences in subjective assessments of the crisis and whether adults in households with children were affected to a greater extent. This paper investigates differences in the perceived impact of the economic crisis between adults in households with and without children in 17 European countries, using data from the Life in Transition Survey 2010 in a multilevel modelling framework. It also explores differences in the coping strategies that households adopted to deal with the decline in income or economic activity. Everything else being equal, perceptions of the crisis were more widespread in countries with higher rates of child poverty, lower economic growth and lower GDP per capita. Across countries, perceptions of the crisis closely trailed subjective indicators of financial difficulties from other international surveys conducted in 2010. Adults in households with children were more likely to report an impact of the crisis, with larger differences in countries with higher rates of monetary child poverty. Adults in households with children also adopted a greater variety of coping strategies than the rest, prioritizing expenditure on basic necessities, while cutting back on luxuries and holidays. Nevertheless, many still reported reduced consumption of staple foods as a result of economic difficulties.