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Latest child poverty figures

At a glance: child poverty measures for year ending June 2019

The following nine poverty measures are now reported annually by the Government Statistician according to the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018. The table below provides the latest figures for these measures for the year ending June 2019.

BHC refers to the median equivalised disposable household income before-housing costs while AHC refers to the median equivalised disposable household income after-housing-costs. For instance, AHC 40 refers to the number of children living in households with less than 40 percent of the median equivalised disposable household income after-housing-costs.

  • Disposable household income is the total income for all household members 15 and older, plus tax credits, less ACC levy and tax payable. This figure is equivalised, meaning that income is adjusted according to household size.
  • Housing costs include expenditure on mortgage payments, rent payments, property rates payments and property insurance. The Government reports on household income both before and after housing costs have been deducted, giving an indication of the impact of housing costs on child poverty rates.

The percentage of children living in household with less than 50 percent of the median equivalised disposable household income after-housing-costs (AHC 50) measure is reported as both a fixed-line and a moving-line measure.

  • Fixed-line measures set an income threshold for a particular ‘base’ year (in this case, the financial year 2017/18), while adjusting for inflation. This measure is particularly useful during a recession. As unemployment increases, moving line measures may give the impression that child poverty is improving, when average incomes are simply decreasing.
  • All other measures are moving-line. They calculate a household’s current income according to the current median for all households.

The Government also reports on the number of children living in material hardship and severe material hardship. These measures use the DEP-17 index, which includes questions about an enforced lack of essentials such as food, bills and doctors visits.

  • A household is deemed to be in material hardship if it scores six or more lacks from the 17 items.
  • A household is defined as being in severe material hardship if it scores nine or more lacks from the 17 items.

At a glance: child poverty figures over time

The number of children in New Zealand living in households experiencing income poverty remains high. Over the year ending June 2019:

  • 328,200 children were living in households with less than 60 percent of the median after-housing-costs income
  • 241,600 children were living in households with less than 50 percent of the median after-housing-costs income
  • 167,600 children were living in households with less than 40 percent of the median after-housing-costs income

Data retrieved from Stats NZ