Presentation on theme: "Beneath the surface: National trends and the lived experience of child poverty in Australia Gerry Redmond ACOSS Policy Forum – Turning the Tide of Child."— Presentation transcript:
Beneath the surface: National trends and the lived experience of child poverty in Australia Gerry Redmond ACOSS Policy Forum – Turning the Tide of Child Poverty in Australia 12 November 2013
Child poverty - why should we be concerned? Compared with other countries Australian young people doing poorly in terms of: % 15-19 year olds not in employment or education Number of children living in jobless families Income inequality % Children in out of home care Report Card: The wellbeing of young Australians (2013)
Child poverty - why should we be concerned? In 2011, 41.7% of young people from the lowest socio- economic background were not fully engaged in work or study after leaving school, an increase of 1.6 percentage points from 2006. Education in Australia 2012: Five Years of Performance (2013)
“By 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty.” Child poverty – an issue for policymakers?
Following Bob Hawke’s pledge, child poverty decreased (at first….) Source: Pressman (2011) Child poverty, 1982-2005 (% children below half median household income)
Child poverty in Australia is high by international standards Source: OECD Child poverty, OECD countries, 2010 (% children below half median income)
Young people’s lived experience of poverty And money, we are hard about money, it’s hard for us. So me and Jack, we tried not to ask for lots of things, well I do, and since it was my birthday yesterday.
Young people’s lived experience of poverty My mum struggles, she gets paid on Thursdays but struggles on the Wednesday. Me and my brother if there is no food for school, we don’t go to school at all. She has never sent us to school with no food. Making a Difference
Young people’s lived experience of poverty My mum doesn’t like having [my friend] over when there isn’t much food; she gets ashamed like she is going to go tell her mum. In case she says we didn’t have much for dinner tonight Making a Difference
Young people’s lived experience of poverty It’s like some kids are scared and they leave the lights on, they have to pay more money for, like, the bills when they do that, then they miss out on getting food if they have to pay more money for the bills.
Young people’s lived experience of poverty … we were supposed to go to our Uncle's house this weekend but to pick up a lounge but we don't have the money for diesel to go there..
Poverty at school I want them to you know; rebuild the toilets because there is tag everywhere there is no toilet seat They [have] more graffiti over them and everything and sometimes you will find that Year 7s are not coping well and they’ve gone through and just chucked toilet paper everywhere Making a Difference
Poverty at school if you’re wearing, like a trackie... tracksuit something, they’ll just go, ‘oh, look what she’s wearing’, or something. But I don’t care. I don’t! But... like girls at our old school... [this girl] just wore what she could afford, like from an op- shop or something. …. And everybody used to pick on her. Making a Difference
Poverty of school environments I was going to go to Southern Falls High. Mum wanted me to go to Southern Falls but we couldn’t afford like the bus passes and all that so we went to White Ibis Plains Making a Difference
Children’s experience of poverty encompasses… … absolute deprivation … poorly served neighbourhoods … inadequate schooling … lack of choice … exclusion from doing things other children take for granted … poverty of life chances
(… but look what the GFC stimulus did) Source: HILDA; Redmond, Patulny & Whiteford (2013) Trends in child poverty and overall poverty, 2006-07 to 2009-10, including and excluding economic stimulus payments (per cent)
Young people’s lived experience of poverty Interviewer: OK so when you were little you used to ask for lots of things and what changed why? Rose: I think all the yelling that we got threw me. So I got it.
Young people’s lived experience of poverty Interviewer:Do you ever not ask [for bus fare] because you are worried that your family doesn’t have enough? Linox: Yes. A lot of my family use it more than I do. I don’t need…. Interviewer: What kinds of things do you miss out on? Linox: Like say if I wanted, like stuff, shoes and that. Like this week I really needed, but parents just say they can’t, but yes, those kinds of things.
Support for children, 1988-89 to 2009-10 – cash payments & in-kind services ($ per child per week, 2010 prices) Source: IMF World Economic Outlook database
What’s happened to inequalities between children and young people since the 1970s?
Have inequalities gotten worse? Percentage of children in highest fifth of behavioural difficulties, by parents’ education, 1980s Source: ATP & LSAC; Redmond, Katz, Gubhaju and Smart (2011)
Have inequalities gotten worse? Percentage of children in highest fifth of behavioural difficulties, by parents’ education, 1980s and 2000s Source: ATP & LSAC; Redmond, Katz, Gubhaju and Smart (2011)
High school completion at the 17 to 19 years age group, by quartiles of parents’ socio-economic status, 1975 and 2006 (per cent) Source: Redmond et al., (2013)
Correlations between literacy and numeracy among 14-15 year olds, and socio-economic status over time Source: Redmond et al., (2013)
Inequalities continue through school Proportions scoring less than 2 and 5 or more in reading tests at age 15, 2009 Source: Thomson et al., (2011)
Inequalities continue through school Minutes spent in sporting activities, by household income, Australia 2007 Source: Maher & Olds, 2011
Qualitative work – what are children and young people saying?
Inequalities in young people’s experiences Interviews and groupwork with 100 young people aged 8-14 years -Their understanding of ‘the good life’ -Things that get in the way of ‘the good life’
Inequalities in young people’s experiences Interviews and groupwork with 100 young people aged 8-14 years -Their understanding of ‘the good life’ -Things that get in the way of ‘the good life’ National survey of young people in 2014
Inequalities in young people’s experiences Stresses ‘mainstream’ young people – homework ‘marginalised’ young people – fitting in, exclusion, money It’s like some kids are scared and they leave the lights on, they have to pay more money for, like, the bills when they do that, then they miss out on getting food if they have to pay more money for the bills. (female, SA)
Inequalities in young people’s experiences Bullying There’s always at least one bad person in your group of friends that will spread rumours about you. So they spread rumours, then everyone else turns against you..
Inequalities in young people’s experiences Experience of school differed between ‘marginalised’ and ‘mainstream’ young people When you study it can put a lot of pressure on you. Like I've been studying for my selective test which is tomorrow and I'm like really freaking out and stuff. (male, mainstream) School is like – you know how they got all those places like Facebook and things and then you’ve got friends and that but school’s more a place where you know your friends and you learn with them instead of talking to complete strangers. (male in out of home care) I know what makes me happy – home time. (male with disabiility)
Inequalities in young people’s experiences Family as a buffer Family is always there for you. You can tell them pretty much anything but then again there are things that you don't want to tell them, like maybe you were caught hanging around someone that was doing a bad thing and then the blame was put on you and you don't want to tell your parents, and you can tell your friends.
Inequalities in young people’s experiences Diverse experiences of ‘mainstream’ and ‘marginalised’ young people -Different sources of stress -Unequal experiences of bullying -Different future orientations -Families buffering children and children buffering families -But universal understanding of the importance of good health (f components of good health (including mental health), and of education
Summing up…. Strong socio-economic gradient across a range of child outcomes Inequalities between children are apparent from the very earliest ages Little evidence that disparities have diminished Inequalities are often linked: disadvantage in one domain disadvantage in other domains
Summing up…. Young people from ‘marginalised’ and ‘mainstream’ backgrounds…. - face different pressures - mobilise different kinds of support - have different aspirations Perpetuation of inequalities?
Why should we be concerned? Does inequality among children in Australia look like this…… or like this……?
What do we mean by ‘Fair Go’ and ‘Inequality’? Australians value a 'fair go' highest Deborah Gough November 12, 2006 THE right to a "fair go" is the thing almost all Australians put at the top of their list when it comes to values. A survey released today shows 91 per cent of people believe a fair go is important, with most listing the need for rights to welfare, housing and indigenous reconciliation to make the country fairer. The poll was less than conclusive about whether Australia was getting fairer for all, with 45 per cent saying it was not.
Household income inequality has increased Income inequality, non-retired families, 1982-2009 Source: Whiteford and Redmond, (forthcoming)
How do inequalities in income or socio-economic status translate into other inequalities between children Source: AIHW, 2012 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: A Picture of Australia’s Children, 2012 Children living in the lowest socioeconomic status areas less likely to have stories read or told to them regularly more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke in the home more likely to smoke themselves more likely to become teenage parents more likely to have mental health issues
Vanessa & Mitch Vanessa (age 12, Vic., low-middle income mortgage belt): I do dancing on a Tuesday and a Thursday. And I do singing lessons in school. Well, I used to do choir, but I had to drop that ‘cos mum didn’t get home from work in time to take me…Like I do productions on the weekends. I did one last year. I was in ‘Oliver’. Aspired to become a singer Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012)
Vanessa & Mitch Mitch (age 14, SA., low income outer suburb): Interviewer: And does the school have any sports teams that you can play in? Mitch: No. It’s too dear. Interviewer: What do they offer? Mitch: Soccer, netball, basketball, football and I think that’s it. Interviewer: So what kind of things do you have to pay for? Do you have to pay every week or….? Mitch: No… got to pay for the jersey, you got to pay for the equipment and that. And I think you have to pay for your games. It’s too expensive, yeah that’s why I don’t play there. Aspired to becoming a FIFO miner Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012)
Vanessa & Mitch Average family incomes, by deciles of family incomes, Australia 2009-10 Source: Redmond & Whiteford, 2013
Vanessa & Mitch Average family incomes, by deciles of family incomes, Australia 2009-10 Mitch Vanessa Source: Redmond & Whiteford, 2013
Vanessa & Mitch Average family incomes, by deciles of family incomes, Australia 2009-10 Mitch Vanessa Source: Redmond & Whiteford, forthcoming
Vanessa & Mitch Average family incomes, by deciles of family incomes, Australia 2009-10 Mitch Vanessa Roger Source: Redmond & Whiteford, forthcoming
Inequalities continue through school Physical environments of some schools catering to students from disadvantaged backgrounds are terrible Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012) I want them to you know; rebuild the toilets because there is tag everywhere there is no toilet seat (Malaki, male, 17 years, NSW). They [have] more graffiti over them and everything and sometimes you will find that Year 7s are not coping well and they’ve gone through and just chucked toilet paper everywhere (Sarah, female, 17 years, NSW).
Inequalities continue through school School choice is constrained by economic disadvantage Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012) I was going to go to Southern Falls High. Mum wanted me to go to Southern Falls but we couldn’t afford like the bus passes and all that so we went to White Ibis Plains (Tahlia, female, NSW)
Inequalities continue through school Subject choice and school activities are also constrained by economic disadvantage Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012) Yeah. [School camp] cost hundreds and hundreds, and we can’t, obviously, pay for that. ‘Cos the monthly fee or whatever, the pre-stuff you have to pay is $300. And my parents don’t have that much money to give me (Smiley, female, 16 years, Victoria).
Inequalities continue through school Source: Nous Group (2011)
Have inequalities gotten worse? On average, Australian children now have better developmental and educational outcomes than in previous generations….. Lower child mortality Higher living standards More children receiving pre-school education More young people staying at school & going to university
Summing up… Does inequality among children in Australia look like this…… or like this……?
Policy directions What have Australian policymakers gotten right? Nationally… -Generous family payments -Expansion of early childhood education (but not enough yet) -Response to the Global Financial Crisis
Policy directions What have Australian policymakers gotten right? Smaller scale.. -National innovations eg., Communities for Children -State level innovations, eg., ICANs and Family by Family in SA -Involvement of the NGO sector
Policy directions What have Australian policymakers gotten wrong? -Failure to reduce child poverty further -Recent cuts in payments for lone parents -Growing geographical disparities -Stratification in schooling -Failure to make universal services inclusive -Short term funding approach -Failure to listen to the voices of children
Policy directions What’s needed? -Clearer statements on what policymakers mean when they talk about reducing inequality -More explicit goals in relation to inequality between children -More information on which inequalities matter the most, and should be prioritised -More engagement with children themselves, especially children who experience disadvantage, on how they see their lives -A more inclusive approach to universal services
Policy directions What’s needed? Mitch Vanessa Roger Glen
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