To mark Anti-Poverty Week, we’ve pulled together some resources, with a specific focus on the experiences of children living in poverty. Below you’ll find some meeting resources, facts and statistics, and some material to encourage people to engage more.
Download the full resource pack here.
- Video: Inequality in Australia - a nation divided. This video offers a brief illustration on how wealth inequality impacts Australians of different financial backgrounds. Watch here.
- Video: Income and Wealth Inequality: Crash Course Economics. This video offers a more indepth 'crash course' in the different forms of economic inequality. Watch here.
- Prayer: A prayer for children living in poverty. Download here
- Prayer: A prayer of blessing on all children. Download here
- Prayer: A prayer to see poverty through young eyes. Download here.
Poverty and extreme hardship affect more than a million Australians. Around the world, more than a billion people are desperately poor.
There are two main ways to measure inequality
- Income inequality: how much income is received by a person or household
- Wealth inequality: how much wealth is held by a person or household
In Australia, wealth inequality is higher than income inequality and the gap between wealthy and the poor is increasing. Evidence shows that countries with lower inequality tend to have faster and more lasting economic growth; and that countries with high inequality can experience high levels of violence, suicide, obesity, mental illness, imprisonment and shorter life expectancy.
The bottom line is, when you are struggling to make ends meet, something always has to give, and unfortunately that ‘something’ can be items such as food, gas, electricity and water charges, property rates and charges, household services, health, or even education.
In the 12 months leading up to June 2011, the prise of food increased 6% with the bulk of the increases shown to be for fresh fruit and vegetables (35% increase in cost). Housing costs also surged by almost 5% with an increase in rent of 4.5% and increases in utilities of 9.9%. Even transport had an increase in costs of 3.5% in the same period. Yet, since 1995, there have been no increases in government allowances.
This is all pretty grim, but through the eyes of a child who knows nothing other than hardship and poverty, not eating a full meal or anything at all, not having a school uniform, or even having internet access at home can be just the way life is. In the developing world, more than 7,500 children under the age of five die every day as a result of under nutrition. That is a death toll of more than five every minute. Put another way, this death rate is equivalent to eight buses, fully loaded with children, crashing each hour of the day—and killing all aboard. No society would tolerate such hourly horrors, yet few have effectively grappled with eradicating this scourge. In Australia, 602,604 children (aged below 15) have been found to be in poverty, or roughly 23.6% of all people in poverty, and 18,000 children under the age of 12 are homeless.
Another vulnerable group is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples population, who make up 2.5% of Australia’s population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples live in some of the poorest communities in Australia. This significantly impacts their livelihoods, with their life span approximately 17 years shorter than the national average. Additionally, the child mortality rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples groups is four times greater than that of the general population.
The first one thousand days of a child’s life are foundational for the rest of their life. Isn’t it time we started doing more to make sure that our nation’s children, and the children of the world, have better access to education, food, shelter, and hope, so that they may one day live in a world without poverty. This October, it is time to make a change?
Interested in learning more? Below are links to reports and further reading.