April 09th 2021

Research project on Poverty dynamics under COVID-19

The effects of the pandemic measures in Austria are already visible and tangible in many areas of society. It is difficult to quantify the immediate effects, but according to unemployment figures, they are far-reaching and massive.

Thus, in December 2020, 520,919 people are unemployed. That is around 113,000 more than in December of the previous year. During the same period, the number of long-term unemployed increased from 37,000 persons to 136,3620 persons. Nearly 420.000 are on short-term work in Austria. More than a quarter of the workforce had to live with wage losses due to the pandemic, which were/are mainly due to short-time work. Even during the first lockdown, 30% of households had a lower income available. Furthermore, the increase in families at risk of poverty became apparent in spring 2020 and intensified as the year progressed. Tyrol is massively affected by these developments and has 145,4% more people unemployed or in job market trainings in December 2020 compared to December 2019. The increase in long-term unemployed in Tyrol is at 76,4% since December 2019. The pandemic, as an exogenous shock to health and social systems, also poses a long-term challenge at individual level. The project aims to give a voice to those who have lost their jobs in recent months, have come under severe financial pressure, and whose income or training opportunities have disappeared. It is about capturing experiences of poverty, precariousness, fears or experiences of descent, loss of housing or at least concerns about it, but also about resilient strategies for dealing with these events under the crisis-like developments and effects of the pandemic. How do affected individuals/families have access to various resources and how can they use and manage them in difficult situations. The influence of social networks will be assessed as well as the existing welfare state infrastructure and individual practices of saving, consumption avoidance (what has to be done without, how is it prioritized) or neighborly help. A qualitative survey will be used to process and analyze the input from those affected, but also from advisory bodies.

Starting in April 2021, and the team of CSHI will work intensively on this topic for 9 months and conduct qualitative interviews with formerly and currently affected persons as well as advisory staff.

In addition to the interviews, there will be an opportunity to participate in an online survey. You can find more information here (in German language only). 

Project partners: Arbeiterkammer Tirol, Team Österreich Tafeln, Unicum:mensch Tirol 

Sascha Gell, BA, MA and Lukas Kerschbaumer, BA, MA are more than happy to get in touch and to answer any further questions:

Project Manager Lukas Kerschbaumer, BA, MA
Center for Social and Health Innovation
+43 512 2070 – 7421

Sascha Gell, BA, MA
Project Assistent
Center for Social and Health Innovation
+43 512 2070 – 7423


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Research project on Poverty dynamics under COVID-19 . Photo: ©MCI_Kasper