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Home > Growing up in Ireland. Key findings: 13-year-olds. No. 3. The family and financial circumstances of 13-year-olds.

Economic and Social Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin. (2012) Growing up in Ireland. Key findings: 13-year-olds. No. 3. The family and financial circumstances of 13-year-olds. Dublin: Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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This Key Finding reports on data from the second wave of interviews with Growing Up in Ireland’s Child Cohort. The 8,568 children and their families were first interviewed when the children were 9 years old, and then at age 13 years, when 7,400 were reinterviewed between August 2011 and February 2012.

The majority (81%) of 13-year-olds lived in two-parent families, the main caregiver generally being their mother. Family structures were broadly stable between 9 and 13 years; just over 3% of the children changed from one-parent to two-parent families over the period in question, while 4% changed from two-parent to one-parent families.

The mother’s employment status was strongly related to her education. Better-educated mothers were much more likely to be at work outside the home. Family income (adjusted to account for differences in size and composition of family) was also strongly related to mother’s education and family structure.

The effects of the recession of the last four years were clearly felt by families with 13-year-olds. The extent of difficulties experienced in making ends meet increased substantially – 29% were experiencing difficulties at the first interview compared with 61% at the second. Of most concern is the substantial minorities of families who, at the time of interview, could not afford or had to cut back on basics (31%) or who were behind with their utility bills (13%) or rent/mortgage payments (11%).


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