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The Changing Socio-Demographic Composition of Poverty in Australia: 1982 to 2004

Listed author(s):
  • Roger Wilkins


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

The extent of income poverty and its socio-demographic composition are examined using all ABS income surveys conducted over the period 1982 to 2004. There has been some increase in the proportion of the population in poverty, particularly since 1997, but of more note are the substantial changes in the socio-demographic composition of those in poverty. Compared with the start of the sample period, persons in poverty at the end of the period were much more likely to be older, in families without dependent children, holding post-school qualifications and/or foreign-born. In part, these changes reflect broader changes in the composition of the population. However, changes in the risks of poverty associated with different characteristics have also produced large changes in the composition of the poor, and have in some cases counteracted or reversed effects of demographic change. Specifically, the risk of poverty has increased for the elderly, non-dependent youth, single people, foreign-born persons and those without post-school qualifications, and it has decreased for sole parent families and residents of Queensland, the ACT and the Northern Territory.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2007n12.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2007n12
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Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia

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  1. de Vos, Klaas & Zaidi, M Asghar, 1997. "Equivalence Scale Sensitivity of Poverty Statistics for the Member States of the European Community," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(3), pages 319-333, September.
  2. Peter Saunders & Bruce Bradbury, 2006. "Monitoring Trends in Poverty and Income Distribution: Data, Methodology and Measurement," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(258), pages 341-364, September.
  3. Peter Siminski & Peter Saunders & Bruce Bradbury, 2003. "Reviewing the Intertemporal Consistency of ABS Household Income Data through Comparisons with External Aggregates," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(3), pages 333-349.
  4. David Johnson, 1996. "Poverty Lines and the Measurement of Poverty," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 29(1), pages 110-126.
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