Snapshot of poverty in Australia

21 Feb 2020

The latest report from UNSW Social Policy Research Centre and ACOSS finds that despite economic growth in the last decade, poverty rates have remained much the same.

  • More than 3.24 million people live below the poverty line
  • 774,000 children under 15 are included in this figure

Child poverty has been consistently higher than overall poverty. Sadly, more than 1 in 6 children live in poverty in Australia.

Action to increase income support, to provide more social and affordable housing and more employment programs are urgently needed to lift people out of poverty.

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS says that supporting each other is who we are as a nation, but our economy is leaving people behind with persistently high poverty rates.

“People living in poverty include young people working to get their foot in the door of the competitive job market, single parents juggling caring responsibilities, and older people confronting age discrimination.

“The job market is changing, with jobs less secure and fewer entry-level jobs. Our housing costs are among the highest in the world and are locking people in poverty. For households of working age with the lowest incomes, average housing costs rose by 42% from 2005 to 2017

“It’s clear we must act to lift people out of poverty. The government can reduce poverty by boosting growth in jobs, increasing Newstart and Rent Assistance, and investing in social housing to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home.”

ACOSS is calling for an increase of $95 to Newstart and Youth Allowance; a $20 increase to Rent Assistance and the indexation of these payments to wages, as per the Age pension.

Join the campaign to increase the Newstart allowance here: Raise the Rate

The report can be accessed here.

Read the media release here.