Single-mum families twice as likely to be battling poverty


Single-parent families headed by women have twice the rate of poverty of single-parent families headed by men, according to new research. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

By Jacquline Maley, Sydney Morning Herald

A report from the Australian Council of Social Service and the University of New South Wales shows that more than a third (37 per cent) of people in sole parent families headed by a woman live in poverty, compared to 18 per cent of sole parent families headed by a man.

This is a “major contributor” to Australia's high child poverty rate of 18 per cent, report authors say.

The Poverty in Australia research is published amid public debate over whether the government should maintain the increases in Newstart and other welfare payments beyond their planned expiry at the end of September.

The Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight nearly doubles the incomes of people formerly on Newstart and Youth Allowance and increases the Parenting Payment by about 60 per cent.

A recent paper by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency on the “Gendered Impacts of COVID-19” notes that school closures and an absence of support from extended family means “single mothers will have less ability to work and are at greater risk of poverty” during the current crisis.

Even in non-single parent households, there is a gender poverty divide.

The households where the main income earner is a woman are also more likely to be living in poverty than households where the main income earner is a man.

The report authors determine the poverty line as being when a household's disposable income is one half that of the median household income.

Being unemployed remains the greatest risk to living in poverty, and relying on social security rather than a wage makes a person about five times more likely to live in poverty.


Families headed by single mothers twice as likely to be battling poverty, says new research (Sydney Morning Herald)  


Coronavirus supplement rollback could be 'devastating' for women in wake of pandemic (ABC News)

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