Precarity is a term used in sociology and especially within the labor movement to refer to a condition of existence without predictability or security, which affects both material and psychological welfare.

Precarity generally refers to an existence without predictability in employment and a lack of financial security, which adversely affects a person's (or family's) quality of life. This includes families whose wage-earners are underemployed or irregularly employed, have a low income, and have little or no savings. Precarity is likely to disproportionately affect youth, women, and immigrants. A entire social class living in a state of precarity may be called the precariat, a class that falls between the proletariat and the lumpenproletariat.

While this term is still a rarity in English, it is quite common in other European languages, although the spelling varies from country to country (Precariedade, Précarité, etc.). The word precarity is said to be a portmanteau of 'precarious' and 'proletariat'.

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