One In 50 British Children Have Never Seen Their Parents Work

British households never workedOf all the dreary statistics in the news recently, a new number from the U.K. Office of National Statistics is perhaps the most disturbing of them all: 370,000 British households have never worked, the highest level since the ONS began keeping a record, and 10 percent higher than the same time last year, reports The Telegraph. That means more than one in 50 children have never seen a grown-up in their home have a job, or bring home a paycheck that wasn't from the government. In London, that number is closer to one in 20.

In April to June of this year, 18.8 percent of U.K. households were "workless," which means that no one over the age of 16 was employed. While 1.5 million children are living in these homes, most of those children have at least been exposed to a model of an employed adult. Some, however, have been raised in a "culture of worklessness," to use the phrase of Nigel Meager, director of the Institute for Employment Studies.

The jump in the number of households where no one has worked isn't just a product of the recession. It's been rising steadily since 1996, except for a dip in the few heady years before the economic crash. Part of this is due to the increasing number of students, and therefore all-student households. But even excluding this, the climb remains alarmingly steady, as The Economic Voice reports.

This may be because many of these households are in regions that were based around traditional British industries, like coal and steel. When those mines and factories closed, entire communities faced an epidemic of unemployment. Many never worked again.

"Role models are important," Chris Tilly, the Director of UCLA's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, told AOL Jobs. "You learn to work by being around people who work. This has an effect of undermining peoples knowledge and orientation to work."

While children can be exposed to the norms, structure, and expectation of employment from places outside the home, Tilly explained, this statistic represents a "scary situation."

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