ACOSS has a strong policy focus on poverty and inequality in Australia.
We are issuing a series of poverty and inequality reports, the first of which is the Poverty in Australia 2013 edition.
This report found that there are approximately 2,265,000 people, or 12.8% of all people in Australia who are living below the OECD poverty line of 50% of median wage. The report also found that there were some groups particularly at risk, including: people without paid work, children (especially in sole parent families), and people whose main source of income is social security payments.
The poverty report found that:
- 2,265,000 people (12.8%) were living below the poverty line
- 575,000 children or 17.3% were living below the poverty line
- 63% of people in unemployed households were below the poverty line
- 25% of people in lone parent households were below the 50% poverty line
- 37% of people in households whose main income was social security were living below the poverty line
- Among people in households where the main income earner received the following payments, the following proportions lived below the poverty line, after taking account of housing costs:
- Newstart Allowance, 52%
- Parenting Payment, 45%
- Disability Support Pension, 42%
- Carer Payment 24%
- Age Pension, 14%
- 62% of people below the poverty line came from households with social security as their main source of income, but a sizeable minority (29%) were in households with wages as the main income source. This 29% figure is due to the higher number of wage-earning households overall. It is likely that most of these people live in households where people receive part time earnings only, or are raising children on a low wage
- 14% of women were below the poverty line compared to 12% of men
- 54% of people living in households below the poverty line were female compared to 46% male
- 26% of adults living in households below the 50% poverty line came from a non English-speaking country
- The level of poverty was higher (13.1%) outside capital cities than in capital cities (12.6%)
- The proportion of people in poverty rose by approximately a third of a percentage point from 2003 to 2010 but it is difficult to compare poverty levels over the long term due to changes in the various ABS surveys.
For more information:
- Read Poverty, inequality and a modern social contract relevant for a changing world, a discussion paper about poverty in Australia and the UK by Julia Unwin, from the Rowntree Foundation in the UK.
- Check out all ACOSS Publications on Poverty