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Further Skirmishes in the Poverty War: Income Status and financial stress among Indigenous Australians


  • Boyd Hunter

    () (The Australian National University)


The Poverty Wars started with a coordinated series of skirmishes by the Centre for Independent Studies. One of their main criticism of income-based measures of poverty is that measurement error(i.e. under-reporting) is pronounced for low income earners, especially those who indicate they have an income less than or equal to zero. This paper shows that this claim is not valid for the Indigenous Australians. This paper also presents some evidence of an emerging Indigenous middle class—however, the rates of social ills are unacceptably high even for these'nouveau rich’ Indigenous groups. Another finding is that conventional measures of Indigenous poverty are likely to be robust in small families, but appear to be unreliable for large families,NATSISS allows us to accurately benchmark the top-coding assumptions routinely used in analysis of grouped data. The assumptions used for previous estimates of average income tend to understate Indigenous income disadvantage.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyd Hunter, 2006. "Further Skirmishes in the Poverty War: Income Status and financial stress among Indigenous Australians," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 9(1), pages 51-64, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:9:y:2006:i:1:p:51-64

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    More about this item


    Personal Income; Wealth; and Their Distributions; Measurement and Analysis of Poverty; Economics of Minorities and Races;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination


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