This book presents the real life stories of five young people who were all born in the same place at the same time and who all seem to be flourishing at age 21 but who have had very different life experiences along the way. The book draws on the findings of the unique Life Chances Study, a longitudinal research project which has followed the lives of a group of young people for 21 years since their birth in inner Melbourne in 1990. The study has explored in detail the impacts of family income and disadvantage for children over time. The wealth of data from the interviews over the years is used to present the young people's stories from infancy to age 21, both from the perspectives of their parents and, as they grow up, in their own words.
An introductory chapter introduces the stories and the context. This is followed by five detailed life stories and a concluding chapter which reflects on issues of social and economic support for families. The stories include young people from both advantaged and disadvantaged family backgrounds and with parents from different birthplaces (China and Vietnam as well as Australia). They illuminate such diverse aspects of life as the development of ethnic identity, language barriers, career planning, neighbourhood and choice of school.
Life Chances makes an important contribution to understanding inequality and disadvantage in our society. It enables the reader to engage with the lives and thoughts of five families over 21 years and can provide insights into the complexity of individual lives in their wider context.
Foreword, Professor Johanna Wyn Preface Introduction 1. Debbie's story 2. Amy's story 3. Tom's story 4. Sally's story 5. Will's story Reflections.