Report shows most likely to live below the poverty line in Australia
Note: This report uses the latest available data from 2019-2020. At this time inflation averaged at 1.5%.
In 2021-2022 inflation rose 7.8%, the highest increase since the 1990s. In this same period wages only increased 3.3% (2.5% in the public sector).
It can be assumed that the current economic climate and lack of real wage growth is creating exacerbating economic inequality and forcing more Australian’s into poverty.
According to the latest report by the Poverty and Inequality Partnership between ACOSS and UNSW Sydney, women and part-time employees are some of the most affected by poverty in Australia.
In 2019-20, more than one in eight people (13.4%), and one in six children (16.6%) lived below the poverty line*. Equaling over 3,319,000 people and 761,000 children.
Women were significantly more likely to be affected. When the main income earner of a household, women are twice as likely to be below the poverty line than men in the same position.
Households where the main income earner worked part-time also were also more likely to live below the poverty line (18%).
This is a concerning report for nurses and midwives. Women make up almost 90% of nurses, midwives and aged care workers, and more staff are turning to part-time work to cope with increasing workloads and decrease in working conditions.
Earlier this year, the ACTU conducted a poll that showed almost a quarter of respondents were regularly skipping meals and 56% had cut back on essential items to cope with the cost of living crisis.
Essential healthcare workers need to be treated with the respect they deserve, not to be forced into poverty.
Additional groups facing highest risk of poverty (2019-2020):
- 72% of people on Parenting Payments;
- 34% of people in sole parent households; and
- 20% of people with disability and a ‘core activity restriction’; and 43% of people on Disability Support Pensions.
We look forward to working with the newly elected NSW government to increase nurses and midwives’ real wages as well as implementing nurse-to-patient ratios, bringing more employees back to full-time and back from interstate.
*The poverty line based on 50% of median household income ranged from $489 per week for a single person to $1,027 per week for a couple with two children.