Presentation by Associate Professor Gerry Redmond

Report
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?
Report Card: The wellbeing of
young Australians (2013)
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
Child poverty - why should we be concerned?
Education in Australia 2012: Five Years of
Performance (2013)
In 2011, 41.7% of young people from the lowest socioeconomic background were not fully engaged in work or
study after leaving school, an increase of 1.6
percentage points from 2006.
Child poverty – an issue for policymakers?
“By 1990, no Australian child will be living in
poverty.”
Following Bob Hawke’s pledge, child poverty decreased (at first….)
Child poverty, 1982-2005 (% children below half median household income)
20
18
16
per cent
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
Source: Pressman (2011)
Child poverty in Australia is high by international standards
Child poverty, OECD countries, 2010 (% children below half median income)
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Source: OECD
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..
Making a
Difference
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 opshop or something. …. And
everybody used to pick on her.
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
http://www.australianchildwellbeing.com.au/
(… but look what the GFC stimulus did)
Trends in child poverty and overall poverty, 2006-07 to 2009-10, including
and excluding economic stimulus payments (per cent)
12%
10%
without stimulus
8%
with stimulus
6%
4%
2%
0%
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
Source: HILDA; Redmond, Patulny & Whiteford (2013)
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)
350
300
$ per week
250
in-kind services
200
150
100
cash payments
50
0
1988-89
1993-94
1998-99
2003-04
2009-10
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
45
40
35
30
25
20
ATP - year 10 or less
ATP - postgrad
15
10
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
45
40
LSAC - year 10 or less
35
30
25
20
15
ATP - year 10 or less
ATP - postgrad
LSAC - postgrad
10
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)
Year 10 or less
Year 12
100
100
1975
80
80
70
70
60
60
50
40
40
30
20
20
10
10
0
2nd
3rd
Highest
Quartiles of parents' socio-economic status
2006
50
30
Lowest
1975
90
per cent
per cent
90
2006
0
Lowest
2nd
3rd
Highest
Quartiles of parents' socio-economic status
Source: Redmond et al., (2013)
Correlations between literacy and numeracy among 14-15
year olds, and socio-economic status over time
Parents' socioeconomic
status
School socioeconomic
status
1975
2006
0.254
0.305
0.217
0.335
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
30
less than 2
25
5 or higher
25
25
Per cent
20
15
16
15
10
8
5
0
4
9
4
Lowest
2nd
3rd
highest
Quartiles of socio-economic status
Source: Thomson et al., (2011)
Inequalities continue through school
Minutes spent in sporting activities, by household income, Australia 2007
70
school days
Minutes per day
60
50
40
weekends
30
20
10
0
poorest
2nd
3rd
Wealthiest
Quartiles of household income
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……?
[email protected]
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
0.33
0.32
Gini coefficient
0.31
0.30
0.29
0.28
0.27
Source: Whiteford and Redmond, (forthcoming)
How do inequalities in income or socio-economic status
translate into other inequalities between children
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
Source: AIHW, 2012
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
2500
$ per week
2000
1500
1000
500
0
Deciles of equivalised family income
Source: Redmond & Whiteford, 2013
Vanessa & Mitch
Average family incomes, by deciles of family incomes, Australia 2009-10
2500
Vanessa
$ per week
2000
1500
Mitch
1000
500
0
Deciles of equivalised family income
Source: Redmond & Whiteford, 2013
Vanessa & Mitch
Average family incomes, by deciles of family incomes, Australia 2009-10
2500
Vanessa
$ per week
2000
1500
Mitch
1000
500
0
Deciles of equivalised family income
Source: Redmond & Whiteford, forthcoming
Vanessa & Mitch
Average family incomes, by deciles of family incomes, Australia 2009-10
Roger
2500
Vanessa
$ per week
2000
1500
Mitch
1000
500
0
Deciles of equivalised family income
Source: Redmond & Whiteford, forthcoming
Inequalities continue through school
Physical environments of some schools catering to students
from disadvantaged backgrounds are terrible
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).
Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012)
Inequalities continue through school
School choice is constrained by economic disadvantage
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)
Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012)
Inequalities continue through school
Subject choice and school activities are also constrained by
economic disadvantage
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).
Source: Skattebol, Saunders, Redmond et al. (2012)
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
Glen
Roger

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