, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 239–246 | Cite as

Gender and urban poverty: Single mothers in Amsterdam

  • Joos Droogleever Fortuijn
  • Wim Ostendorf


Urban poverty in Western countries is usually defined in terms of social exclusion and integration. Welfare states can be characterized according to three modes of integration, namely market exchange, redistribution and reciprocity. This paper compares the mechanisms of the social integration of unemployed single mothers with those of unemployed men. In two deprived neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, unemployed single mothers and unemployed native-born men were interviewed about their coping strategies with respect to the labour market, social security institutions and social networks. Although the single mothers have serious financial problems, they are better integrated into society at large than the unemployed men are. The single mothers are strongly oriented towards the labour market, successful in getting support from the social security institutions, have strong and supportive social networks, and are integrated into their neighbourhoods. In the conclusion we challenge the idea of vulnerable single mothers and demonstrate the relatively successful integration of this category of women.

Amsterdam coping strategies gender single mothers social exclusion urban poverty 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joos Droogleever Fortuijn
    • 1
  • Wim Ostendorf
    • 1
  1. 1.AMIDST, Faculty of Social and Behavioral SciencesUniversiteit van, Amsterdam nieuweAmsterdamThe Netherlands (

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