Child Poverty in Australia

Building on previous research of the Children’s Policy Centre, this engagement project, funded by the ANU Policy Hub and is being undertaken by the Children’s Policy Centre and the Poverty and Inequality Research Centre. Led by Professor Sharon Bessell and Dr Angie Bexley, it engages with key stakeholders in Australia from Commonwealth and state governments and civil society organisations (CSOs), to develop policy approaches able to respond to the complex multidimensional problem of childhood poverty.

Over recent years, there has been considerable discussion of Australia’s high rate of child poverty. Almost 18% of children living in households experiencing poverty, with poverty defined as less than 50% medium income. Given the negative impacts of COVID-19 on household incomes, the percentage of children living in poverty is likely to increase in the short- to medium-term. The current approach to measuring child poverty gives some insight into the number of children impacted. It does not provide insights into the ways in which poverty shapes and constrains children’s lives – both now and in the future. Significantly, the current approach does not provide an information base on which to develop responses to child poverty.

Over the past several years, we have been developing a child-centred approach to assessing multidimensional child poverty, grounded in participatory research with children living in contexts of disadvantage, a review of research in Australia, and analysis of approaches used elsewhere in the world.

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