Friday, May 01, 2015

Too many children continue to be born into welfare dependency

If there is one statistic that epitomises the state of modern family under decades of benefit influence it's the following.

Each year I put the same question to MSD (adjusting dates obviously):

At December 31, 2014, how many benefit recipients aged 16-64 had a dependent child born in 2014?

This time the answer  is 11,149 - or 19.4% of all children born in 2014. Still nearly one in five.

While there is gradual and steady improvement (below are the percentages for the last 10 years) the pattern remains well entrenched (largely independent of the economy), a point I have made repeatedly over the years:

2005  21.5
2006  20.2
2007  19.1
2008  20.9
2009  23
2010  22.8
2011  21.8
2012  21.2
2013  19.8
2014  19.4

Between 2013 and 2014 the parental age breakdown shows little change. The past 5 years features a drop in the 16-19 bracket from 14 to 10 percent (to be expected with the falling teen birth rate), but the difference is made up amongst the 20-29 year-olds. Over two thirds of the parents/care-givers are 29 or younger.

85 percent are female indicating most of the dependency lies in single parent families.

Although the overall percentage dropped slightly, for Maori it actually increased from 34.5% of 16,643 births in 2013 to 35.2% of 15,917 births in 2014.

Dec-13 Dec-14
Maori children dependant on benefits 5,736 5,605
Maori caregivers 16,643 15,917

34.5% 35.2%

Half of all the babies welfare-dependent by the end of their birth year are born to Maori caregivers despite Maori making up around 15 percent of the population. Pacific Island parents are not over-represented at only 9 percent of the total (yet their unemployment rate is consistently relatively high and on par with Maori.)

Many of these children will stay benefit-dependent for years.

This statistic contributes more than any other to 'child poverty'.

National has not been lax in facing this problem. At least they won't accept this ongoing pattern.

Labour and the Greens do however, merely calling for bigger benefits to lift children's family income.

Unfortunately that will  exacerbate the problem long term by reversing the current trend.

The last 'low' of 19.1 percent in 2007 occurred when unemployment was at a record low.

Is that as good as it's going to get?


Anonymous said...

National has not been lax in facing this problem. At least they won't accept this ongoing pattern.

Oh really? Theres' no evidence National has done anything worthwhile. The simplest and most straightforward thing is just to abolish the benefits:
then the problem goes away.

tranquil said...

This is *abysmal* stuff.

I just *can't* understand why the Nats are so gutless in tackling this.
If they did so they'd have *80%* of people with them!

It is pure common-sense that having more children while on a benefit will make your situation much worse.
Therefore, the government SHOULD be discouraging this behaviour.

If they are so gutless that they won't do this then they won't do ANYTHING.
This is an EASY win.

Anonymous said...

'the problem' - You need to understand that the benefit is a solution to what is a larger problem; a society where 10% of the population would starve and be unable to house themselves. Do you know what this would cause? An even larger burden on our public health system from poverty induced disease in addition to rampant theft and crime in order to sustain ones family. Unemployment is unfortunately an inevitable consequence of a capitalist society, feel free to research about natural unemployment which is something that will continue to persist in modern society. How we deal with this speaks of us as a country, leaving those unfortunate few to starve however is inhumane and abhorrent. Please reconsider your thinking, thanks.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon 4:49

I refer to unemployment in my post inasmuch as the similarity between Maori and PI levels is consistent YET the welfare dependence of Maori children is much greater than that of PI.
It was also pointed out that when NZ had the lowest unemployment rate in the OECD, almost one in five babies was still becoming benefit dependent either directly after their birth or shortly thereafter.

How do you explain that?

The problem isn't unemployment. The problem is choosing to raise children on welfare, usually in circumstances that then render them officially 'in poverty'.

Anonymous said...

almost one in five babies was still becoming benefit dependent either directly after their birth or shortly thereafter.

WFF. State Hospitals. State Schools. State super.
It's rater more than 1/5. More than 9/10.