There has been growing interest in researching the dynamics of poverty, including poverty mobility. Looking at change over time and what caused this change can provide useful information for policymakers and those who seek to influence them. Young Lives is a longitudinal study of child poverty and provides ample scope to dwell on this area, making use of the three rounds of survey data and of qualitative data from sub-sample children.
The focus in this paper is tribal households not conforming to the general trend of upward mobility. It locates these households, analyses their characteristics, and identifies the factors that cause the downward mobility of certain households. The specific context, the nature of negotiations the households have with the welfare institutions, and the experiential dimension of everyday struggles are discussed, keeping in mind the perspective of those in chronic poverty. We argue that the choices that poor people make can be seen as resistance to being labelled and that, by making these choices, they are also upholding the notion of agency and self-esteem. The paper concludes by drawing attention to structural aspects that shape poverty trajectories, and the policy implications of these.