Poverty in Tyrol

Presenting the study "Investigating Poverty in Tyrol" ("Armut in Tirol auf der Spur"). Researchers from the University of Innsbruck investigate the realities of life, experiences of exclusion and opportunities for participation of people affected by poverty in Tyrol.
Armut in Tirol

Foto: © Land Tirol/Huldschiner

Which groups of people are increasingly affected by poverty in Tyrol? What is the situation of people affected by poverty in Tyrol? What effects does the current Corona pandemic have on people affected by poverty?
These questions were investigated in the study "Experiences of Poverty in the Crisis - A Study of the Tyrolean Poverty Research Forum 2020/21 (Tiroler Armutsforschungsforum)" under the direction of Andreas Exenberger from the Department of Economics. The study considerably broadens the knowledge about the effects of the Covid pandemic in Tyrol for those affected by poverty. Until now, the situation of poeple affected by poverty had been practically unexplored by science. The study offers a comprehensive description of the living conditions of people affected by poverty. For their situation especially, the Covid pandemic is like a burning glass: "Corona intensifies problematic and precarious living situations. It has a negative impact not only on mental and physical health, but especially on social conditions. In short, people with resources had choices that others did not have," Exenberger sums up.

Eight sub-projects shed light on different aspects of poverty

The study is based on eight sub-projects, each of which sheds light on different aspects of poverty. In particular, the risk of poverty and the poverty of people with educational deficits, the working poor, people who have experienced displacement, older people, women and people with mental and chronic illnesses or disabilities were scientifically examined.

For the first time, relevant data from the Austria Corona Panel Project (ACPP) was evaluated with reference to Tyrol, especially with regard to the income situation in Tyrol. Via interviews with families affected by poverty - supplemented by the practical knowledge of the Dowas counselling centre for women - the problems of violence, poverty, educational inequality and homelessness were made out as forms of social discrimination against women and children (in the Corona crisis). "Through this field study, concrete experiences of exclusion in particular could be shown, especially at the interface between mothers' working lives and children's educational biographies," explains study director Exenberger.

In the most extensive sub-project on "Poverty dynamics in times of Covid-19 in Tyrol" ("Armutsdynamiken unter Covid-19 in Tirol"), which was carried out at the MCI's Center for Social & Health Innovation under the direction of Lukas Kerschbaumer, 52 biographical interviews and 55 qualitative online surveys with people affected by poverty as well as 26 expert interviews with employees of social institutions and associations in Tyrol have been obtained so far. It became clear that the accumulation of problematic situations is sometimes the greatest challenge, whereby the digitalisation of some processes may make things easier for some institutions, but not necessarily for those affected, who are confronted with additional challenges as a result.

A research team from the occupational therapy and occupational sciences study programme at the Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol (fh gesundheit Tirol), led by Ursula Costa, investigated the realities of life for different marginalised groups, including those affected by homelessness. "Here it becomes apparent that they are excluded from participation and from having a say in decision-making processes, and they are excluded from necessary or meaningful activities. This often results in perpetuating poverty," analyses Ursula Costa, head of the study programme at the Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol. Considering people with a positive asylum decision the focus also was on participation and social determinants of health , which is reflected here above all by independence and self-determination in everyday life. Detained or imprisoned people with psychosocial health problems, on the other hand, also need skills to strengthen their health and life skills, among other things through continuous occupational therapy and social work support also in times of a lockdown.

Six-part workshop series complements study 

"The results of the entire project were and will be communicated and discussed in the form of the six-part workshop series 'Armut aktuell' ('Poverty Today') between October 2021 and February 2022. Both, employees of social institutions working with people experiencing poverty and interested members of the public are welcome to participate in these workshops," says Exenberger. The results of the workshops, together with the findings of the study, will be included in a final publication. The workshop series will be continued in the years coming.


Current workshop dates at:

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