Poverty and Social Exclusion

Nordregio News Issue 3, 2014

Photo: Mitchell Reardon

Getting a Grip on the Social Exclusion-Inclusion Conundrum

Social inclusion has been identified as one of the major objectives to strive for in the European Union as a whole. In the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU has set a priority to induce more inclusive growth by fostering job creation and reducing poverty, a challenge made greater in the face of a prolonged economic crisis. Finding durable solutions to poverty and social exclusion arguably requires multi-sectoral and multi-level governance approaches to foster territorial cohesion and address socio-economic disparities in the continent's metropolitan regions. In this issue of Nordregio News, we explore the issues of poverty and social exclusion in an urban European context, consider how these issues are dealt with in a suburban municipality in the Stockholm Region and learn about a distinct approach to raise awareness among policy-makers.

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Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe: Place-Specific Patterns and Common Challenges

By Isabel Ramos Lobato & Sabine Weck

Almost one-quarter of the European Union´s (EU) population lives at risk of poverty or social exclusion according to official EU statistics. Children, the unemployed, women and ethnic minorities such as Roma are among the groups who are particularly affected. The dramatic increase in the number of affected individuals since 2009, and the growing disparities between and within EU Member States (exacerbated by the fiscal and economic crisis), have placed the fight against poverty and social exclusion high on political agendas across Europe. To raise public awareness and strengthen political commitment to combat poverty and social exclusion, the EU proclaimed 2010 as the 'European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion'. A headline target in the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth is to lift 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion.

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Towards Inclusion: Botkyrka's Approach to Urban Social Issues

By Mitchell Reardon & Christian Dymén

As one of the fastest growing regions in Europe, Stockholm is in the midst of a dynamic era of development, prosperity and optimism. Not everyone shares the same degree of success, however. Although income and employment opportunities are increasing for many who live and work in the region, continued disparity among groups and individuals is also evident. This is well illustrated by the rise in child poverty rates in many municipalities across Sweden, including some in Stockholm, and the fact that people with foreign backgrounds (particularly from outside of Europe) consistently face significant challenges across a range of socio-economic issues. Long-standing geographic residential patterns along ethnic and socioeconomic lines are becoming more pronounced, suggesting that these challenges are spatially manifest.

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Urbanization and its Socioeconomic Challenges

By Evert Kroes

The Stockholm region has long stood out as a dynamic growth region in northern Europe, with a notable steady increase in population. The high urbanization rate, however, has put a lot of pressure on a region in which some areas have not benefited from the increasing welfare as much as other areas.

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