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The Winding Road to the Welfare State$
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George R. Boyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691178738

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691178738.001.0001

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Old Age Poverty and Pauperism

Old Age Poverty and Pauperism

(p.134) 5 Old Age Poverty and Pauperism
The Winding Road to the Welfare State

George R. Boyer

Princeton University Press

This chapter demonstrates how the aged coped economically and the extent of their reliance on the Poor Law from the 1860s to 1908. The share of working-class persons 65 and older receiving poor relief within a year ranged from about one-half in the 1860s to about one-third in 1908. A large part of this decline in old age pauperism resulted from policy changes brought about by the Crusade Against Outrelief. Workers found it difficult to save enough to provide for their old age. Those who were physically able continued to work, albeit at reduced pay, and many received assistance from their children. However, the ability of older workers to support themselves declined with age, and married children with families often were unable to assist aged parents. The combination of little saving, declining earnings, and lack of family support forced many of the aged to turn to the Poor Law.

Keywords:   Poor Law, poor relief, old age pauperism, Crusade Against Outrelief, old age, older workers, family support

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