Thursday, September 17, 2009

Over half of adolescents spent time on a benefit

Media release

Thursday, September 17, 2009

As many as 55 percent of children reaching adolescence have spent time being supported by a benefit. According to Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator, this is the startling finding of research just published by the Ministry of Social Development

The study also found that throughout most of the 1990s around one in four children were included in a benefit at birth or very soon after. Since 2000 the proportion had declined to one in five children born in 2005 and 2006, and 18 percent of children born in 2007.

Mitchell said that although the trend had been positive it was sobering to learn just how little record low unemployment had affected child reliance on welfare. "In 2005 New Zealand had the lowest unemployment rate in the developed world, yet one in five children were still being born onto a benefit."

"The trend has now, however, reversed. A large majority of children relying on main benefits have a parent on the DPB and since 2007, the number of DPB recipients has grown from 96,467 (June 2007) to 104,400 (June 2009). Others rely on the unemployment benefit which has more than doubled from 23,159 to 50,855 over the same period."

As well as starting their lives on a benefit, large numbers of children stay there for long periods. The report says that just over half of children currently reaching adolescence have been supported by the main benefits* at some time. Specifically,

" in five children born in 1993 are estimated to have been supported by a main benefit for seven or more of their first 14 years of life. An estimated one in ten spent a total of 11 or more of their first 14 years of life supported by a main benefit. "

Mitchell said that growing up on welfare has become a deeply entrenched facet of life for New Zealand children, one which seems largely impervious to economic conditions.

"As long as the welfare system remains essentially unchanged, too many children are going to experience the varying degrees of disadvantage that go hand-in-hand with life on a benefit."


Big News said...

LIndsay, could it be that paid parental leave has reduced - or minimised - numbers of kids that are being born into a benefit?

Anonymous said...

the figures are far worse than you suggest - because you're not counting the WFF benefit

My figures show that over 2/3rds of NZ kids were made bludgers by the Labour government.
Once again the only solution is: repeal.

Lindsay said...

Big News, PPL not included.