Number of adults in poverty by disability status in 2019-20, and change in poverty

  The above graph shows that the rate of poverty among adults with disability in 2019-20 was 853,000 people, and 295,000 people among adults with a core activity limitation. One-third of adults in poverty had a disability. Poverty among people with disability declined by 170,000 people in the fourth quarter of 2019-20. The decline in poverty was greater for people without a core activity restriction (by 153,000 people) than for those with one (by 10,000 people).  


Rate of poverty by labour force status of main income-earner in 2019-20, and change in poverty

  The above graph compares poverty rates among people according to the labour force status of the main income-earner. Among people in households where the main income-earner was unemployed, 62% were in poverty in 2019-20. Where the main income-earner was under 65 years old and not in the labour force, 47% of household members were in poverty. Poverty rates were much lower where the main income-earner was employed fulltime (4.8%). People in households relying on a single part-time wage were more than three times as likely as those relying on a fulltime wage to be in poverty (19%). Among people in households where the main income-earner was 65 years and over and not in the labour force, 16% were in poverty. While people in households whose main income-earner is employed had a relatively low rate of poverty, they comprised 38% of all people in poverty, due to the relatively large number of wage-earning households overall


Average poverty gap for ‘income support households’, by payment type ($pw)

  The ‘poverty gap’ is a measure of the depth of poverty among those living below the poverty line. It is the average gap between their income and the poverty line, after deducting housing costs. In 2019-20, the average poverty gap for income support households was $197 per week. Poverty was deepest (average poverty gaps were largest) among people in households whose main earner received Youth Allowance ($390 per week), Newstart Allowance / JobSeeker Payment ($269), and Parenting Payment ($246) and Carer Payment ($201). Poverty gaps were somewhat lower for Disability Support Pension ($156) and Age Pension ($118).


Rate of poverty by social security payment received by ‘income support households’ in 2019-20, and change in poverty

  The graph above shows poverty rates and numbers of people in poverty among people in households mainly reliant on income support payments (‘income support households’). Across all income support payments, these poverty rates averaged 1,453,000 people. The highest poverty rates among people in ‘income support households’ were for those receiving Newstart Allowance/JobSeeker Payment (323,000 people) or Parenting Payment (320,000), followed by Disability Support Pension (311,000) Carer Payment (82,000), Youth Allowance (21,000) and Age Pension (396,000). Altogether, almost one and a half million (1,453,000) of all people in poverty were in ‘income support households’. Poverty declined by 341,000 people among people in ‘income support households’. Poverty in ‘income support households’ relying on Newstart Allowance / JobSeeker Payment fell by 262,000 people, and for those on Parenting Payment it fell by 128,000 people. Reductions in poverty were less dramatic for ‘income support…


Average poverty gap by main source of income ($pw)

  The above graph shows the average poverty gap for households by main income source, and how that changed when COVID income supports were introduced in the fourth quarter of 2019-20. Average poverty gaps were higher for households relying mainly on wages ($324) or investment and other incomes ($499). The average poverty gaps for households mainly relying on social security fell substantially, by an average of $81 per week, when COVID income supports were introduced. Average poverty gaps for households mainly relying on wages or ‘other’ incomes rose (by $25 and $50 respectively), likely due to a change in the profile of households below the poverty line relying mainly on wages or investment income at this time.


Number of people in poverty by main household income source in 2019-20, and change in poverty

Half of people in poverty were in households relying mainly on social security (1,626,000 of all people in poverty). Over one-third of people in households in poverty relied mainly on wages (1,257,000 people of all people in poverty), reflecting the large number of wage-earning households overall. Poverty fell substantially (by 389,000 people) among people in households mainly reliant on social security. This was likely due to the $275 per week Coronavirus Supplement which almost doubled many of the lowest payments. Poverty also fell substantially - by 401,000 people - among people in households mainly reliant on wages, likely due to the introduction of JobKeeper Payment. Consistent with this, financial stress among households whose main income was from low-paid employment fell substantially in 2020 compared with 2019. On the other hand, poverty rose slightly (by 25,000 people) among people mainly reliant on ‘other’ income, which in this report mainly refers to investment income.


Number of people in poverty by family type in 2019-20, and change in poverty

  The largest number of people in poverty are found in couple-with-children families (1,076,000 people compared with 665,000 people in sole parent families) due to the greater number of couple-with-children families overall. Single adults under 65 years have a slightly higher rate of poverty than those 65 years and older. Poverty fell substantially by 509,000 people in couple-with-children families and fell slightly in single person households of working age and among older couples by 5,000 people and 12,000 people respectively. Most of the overall reduction in poverty (647,000 people) occurred in couple-with-children families. In contrast to couples with children, poverty among people (including children) in sole parent families rose slightly by 21,000 people in the June quarter of 2020. Poverty also rose slightly among couples of working age without children (by 14,000 people) and older single people (by 24,000 people).


Number of people in poverty by gender in 2019-20, and change in poverty

  As indicated above, the majority of people in poverty (1,754,000 out of 3,320,000 people) were women or girls. There were 1,765,000 people in poverty (men, women and children) in households where the main earner was a woman compared with 1,554,000 people where the main earner was a man.


Number of children in poverty in 2019-20, and change in child poverty

  As indicated above, 761,000 children were living in poverty in 2019-20. 316,000 children were in poverty in 2019-20, more than three times the poverty rate for children in couple families. Most children in poverty were in couple families (431,000 children) rather than sole parent families (316,000 children). Poverty among children fell substantially, by 245,000 children, when COVID income supports were introduced. Surprisingly, the decline in child poverty in sole parent families was only small (3,000 children) compared with the large reduction in couple families with children (211,000 children).


Number of people in poverty by age in 2019-20, and change in poverty

  The largest group living in poverty are people of working age (1,535,000 out of a total of 3,320,000 people in poverty) as that is the largest age cohort in the overall population. 761,000 children and 419,000 young people (15-24 years) are living in poverty. Among people aged 25 to 64 years, the poverty rate is below-average (1,535,000 people), reflecting the higher earnings of this age cohort. Poverty declined significantly for all age groups except older people when COVID incomes supports were introduced in the last quarter of 2019-20.