New Zealand's child poverty index sees increase in material hardship-Xinhua


New Zealand's child poverty index sees increase in material hardship

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-22 15:55:30

WELLINGTON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand saw an annual increase in material hardship in child poverty index, indicating that more households were going without some of the essentials due to cost, a senior statistician said on Thursday.

Three of the nine measures of child poverty increased for the year ending in June 2023 compared with the previous year, according to the statistics department Stats NZ.

"For many households, incomes after deducting housing costs did not keep up with inflation, leading to an increase in one of the low-income poverty measures," said Abby Johnston, Stats NZ general manager of social and population insights.

These annual increases were for two of the three primary measures specified in the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 and were accompanied by a year-on-year increase in severe material hardship, one of the six supplementary measures, Johnston said.

One in eight children lived in households experiencing material hardship, she said, adding a household is experiencing material hardship if it is going without six or more of 17 essential consumption items due to cost, and severe material hardship if it is going without nine or more items.

These items include fresh fruit and vegetables, doctor's visits, good pairs of shoes, car upkeep and unexpected expenses of 500 NZ dollars (309.28 U.S. dollars) or more.

The material hardship rate increased 2 percentage points to 12.5 percent, compared with the year ending in June 2022, Johnston said, adding that severe material hardship increased 1.5 percentage points, rising to 5.5 percent.

"To keep costs down, a greater proportion of households were more likely to go without things like fresh fruit and vegetables and buy cheaper or less meat than in previous years," she said.

Smaller populations like New Zealand Maori and Pacific children, and disabled children tend to have higher levels of uncertainty than those for the total population, she added.