April 09th 2021

Research project: Working poor – precarious lifes at a glance

Working Poor, In-Work-Poverty, or Work and still poor are terms used to describe those circumstances in which the income generated through employment is insufficient to support daily subsistence.

According to Eurostat’s definition, persons of age between 18 and 64 are at risk of poverty if they work for more than six months with an annual equalized disposable income below 60% of the national median household income. According to the Austrian Poverty Conference, the current at-risk-of-poverty threshold (May 2020) is €1,286 per month for a one-person household. The value increases by a factor of 0.5 per additional adult person in the household and by a factor of 0.3 per child (under 14).

In Austria, 16.9% of the population (1,472,000 people) were classified as ‘at risk of poverty or exclusion’ in 2019. In Tyrol, 19.7% of Tyrolians were affected during the assessment period from 2015 to 2017. The reasons are diverse and accumulate among children and young people from single-parent households, families with three or more children, single parents, people with a migration background, unemployed, and people over 65. In many cases, work is the decisive (certainly not exclusive) factor that defines participation opportunities. Poverty is usually an expression of a variety of problems with differing origins. The qualitative project intends to depict the everyday lives of people who, despite employment, do not have enough or barely enough to make a living. Thereby a voice is given to the experts on precarious living situations, the affected themselves. Recognizing path dependencies that cause ‘in-work poverty' is essential to identify inhibiting and enabling structures to end this condition. Ultimately, the goal is to provide indications to prevent and end in-work poverty. In addition, the impact of COVID-19 measures on the described phenomenon should not be neglected.

Since we are dependent on support, we kindly invite you to share your experiences on this subject. Either you are currently in a situation where things are financially (too) tight despite working, or you have experienced and overcome such situations in the past. Starting in April 2021, 12 months will be spent working on this issue and qualitative interviews will be conducted 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).

The project is funded by the Province of Tyrol.

Project Partners: Land Tirol, Arbeiterkammer Tirol, program Inbus (Innovia)

Everybody who feels addressed should feel free to get in contact with Lukas Kerschbaumer, BA, MA and Sascha Gell, BA, MA: 


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

Sascha Gell, BA,MA
Project Assistant
Center for Social & Health Innovaton
+43 512 2070 – 7423

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Research project: Working Poor. Photo: ©pixabay.