Rural Poverty in Australia

When you sit (as I often do) in one of Sydney’s wealthier suburbs, it’s hard to imagine the level of disadvantage the rural and remote Australians experience.  Fortunately, there are those that keep trying to remind us.

One of the latest is the report entitled A Snapshot of Poverty in Rural and Regional Australia, released on 14 October 2013 and co-published by the National Rural Health Alliance and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).

Here’s a figure that helps put it all in perspective:  “18 of the 20 electorates in Australia with the lowest household incomes are outside the capital cities”.  That’s correct.  A full 90% of them.

Need more proof?  Have a look at the table below.  Looks of figures (all expressed in percentages).  Examine the patterns carefully:  in every instance, as you move from metropolitan (the major cities to “inner regional” to “outer regional” to “remote” to “very remote”, the indicators get worse.  In other words, proportionately there are 50% more low income families with kids in remote communities than major cities – and almost three times that number in very remote communities.  There are 50% more long-term unemployed in regional areas and more than double that in very remote.  Whereas 50% of families in capital cities have private hospital cover, only 20% in remote communities do.  Every figure gets worse across every indicator.

Indirect poverty indicators in Australia

(All figures in %)

Major cities

Inner Regional

Outer Regional

Remote

Very Remote

Low income families w/kids

8.8

10.7

11.1

12.9

23.1

Single parent  beneficiaries

4.6

6.9

6.8

6.2

6.5

Disability pensioners

4.6

7.0

6.9

5.6

5.2

Long term unemployed

2.3

3.3

3.4

3.7

5.5

Unskilled and semi skilled

14.6

19.6

21.4

22.8

30.4

Jobless families children <15 yrs

12.2

15.4

15.6

15.0

25.9

Private health insurance hosp

48.2

43.8

40.6

33.0

19.6

Source: PHIDU http://www.publichealth.gov.au/remoteness—australia/remoteness—australia-2012-incl.-2011-census-data.html

Do you need more convincing?  How about this one?  Education indicators.  The differences are even starker.  You read this one right when you realise that only 4.5% of school leavers are in higher education in remote areas, only 12.1 in remote, 16.2 in outer regional and 20.4 in inner regional – but 35.5 in the major cities.  And yes, there are many more developmentally vulnerable children outside the major cities than in them.

Education indicators in Australia

(All figures in %)

Major cities

Inner Regional

Outer Regional

Remote

Very Remote

Young kids devt vulnerable

11.0

12.4

13.8

16.9

32.2

School leave in higher educ

35.5

20.4

16.2

12.1

4.5

16 year olds in high school

81.3

76.8

73.9

65.4

51.6

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: