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Palgrave Macmillan

Care Poverty

When Older People’s Needs Remain Unmet

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  • Open Access
  • © 2022

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  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access
  • Brings together social policy, gerontology and poverty research
  • Highlights the care poverty approach as a way to analyse unmet needs as social inequality
  • Focuses not only on formal care but also on informal care, enhancing its relevance outside the Global North

Part of the book series: Sustainable Development Goals Series (SDGS)

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About this book

This open access book turns the research attention of social policy scholars and long-term care researchers from comparative descriptions of care systems, focusing mostly on expenditures and volumes of long-term care services, to outcomes, and in particular to the question whether older people really receive the support that they need. Without knowledge about which needs and which social groups are currently inadequately covered, it is impossible to guide policy development. 


The book puts forward a novel theoretical framework to guide future research work and public discussion on the issue of unmet long-term care needs, by broadening the current discussion so that inadequate care is seen in its societal and policy contexts, taking structural issues and policy designs into account. Kröger outlines three different domains of care poverty (personal care poverty, practical care poverty and socio-emotional care poverty) and differentiates between main methods how unmet needs are measured. This book summarises the existing knowledge on the prevalence, factors and consequences of unmet care needs and interprets these comparatively in the light of social inequalities and care policy models of different welfare states. It will be invaluable to students and scholars of social policy, social work, social gerontology, sociology and political science, and to all disciplines across the field of social sciences that study welfare state policies and care for older people.

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Table of contents (9 chapters)


“This volume is a collection of papers authored by Prof. Pami Dua and her coauthors. These are mostly empirical studies on various policy issues pertaining to the Indian economy, using a wide variety of macroeconometric tools. … the range of the econometric techniques covered makes this volume a ready go-to source for various tools used for macroeconometric analysis.” (Lokendra Kumawat, Indian Economic Review, Vol. 58 (2), 2023)

“In this book, Teppo Kröger provides us with a new way of analysing inequalities associated with long-term care – this is a necessary and welcome contribution on care at a vital time”. 

–Mary Daly, Professor, University of Oxford, United Kingdom 

“In face of ageing populations and the growing need for care, a lack of adequate care is an issue of critical importance. Building upon the innovative concept of care poverty, this book contextualizes the issue within a discourse about social inequality and welfare state policy. The book constitutes an important and exciting theoretical contribution to research regarding the relationship between care and social inequality”.  

–Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Research professor, University of Hamburg, Germany 


“Feminist social policy researchers were among the first to emphasise the importance of care services for achieving the equalitygoals of the welfare state. With the concept and measurement of ‘care poverty’, Teppo Kröger deepens and extends this insight, bringing new insights into the dimensions, causes and consequences of inequality in the distribution of care, and into the role of well-designed long-term care policies in ensuring older people can live decent and dignified lives”.  

–Gabrielle Meagher, Professor emerita, Macquarie University, Australia 

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

    Teppo Kröger

About the author

Teppo Kröger is Professor of Social and Public Policy, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. 

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