Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Why so many NZ children are poor

Yesterday saw the release of the Household Incomes in New Zealand Report which is updated periodically. It is full of data, both domestic and international. Extremely detailed, very lengthy.

What it does usefully highlight is that many statistics are estimates which lead to considerable variation. But this quote says it all about children in poverty in New Zealand:

What can be said with certainty is that more than one in five and perhaps as many as one in four New Zealand children live in households where there is no adult in full-time employment. These rates and the rate for children in workless households are high by OECD and EU standards.

Yet New Zealand has relatively low unemployment by OECD standards.

What New Zealand does have is a very high proportion of sole parent families living on benefits. Hence the high proportion of 'workless' households.

The high proportion of sole parents, some stats say second highest in the developed world, is a result of social policy accommodation of cultural tradition and feminist dogma. Feminists will say it is the result of male failure to take responsibility but that was secondary. The policy enabled that abrogation.

The very best way - in fact, probably the only way - to reduce the poverty of New Zealand children is to get rid of the policy that creates and sustains (albeit meagrely) sole parent families.


Andrei said...

The real problem might be that middle class people don't have many children and are leaving it up to the poor to raise the new generations of New Zealanders.

We seem to have lost sight of how important it is to raise children if want our society is to prosper in the future.

Redbaiter said...

Funny how thi sproblem don't exist in Singapore.

Maybe its because people just get on and produce things there rather than spending their time writing endless bullshit reports.

Anonymous said...

The middle class cannot afford to have more children. They are too busy paying for the children of the poor.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay
Please can you tell me what criteria is used to define a child as being "in poverty"?
Obviously this would be somewhat different to that used in say Somalia...

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon, Best check out the paper I linked to. Definitions can include children living in households with either 50 or 60 percent of equivalised median household income. They are relative definitions. Strictly speaking one should always preface 'poverty' with 'relative' when discussing NZ and other developed nations.

Anonymous said...

Poverty in NZ could be when you cannot afford to participate in have no spare cash to take your children to their school Gala.A vast majority of us place a lot of emphasis on material wealth.We are therefore responsible for what is our definition of poverty.Not just the people who are poor.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:12 - good comment, sir!