Child Poverty Monitor 2020

December 04, 2020 at 2:18 PM

From the New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service

To children and young people in Aotearoa, a good life includes “having fun and feeling contented, having supportive family and friends, and having basic needs met” as well as being mentally and physically healthy, “feeling safe, having a good education and feeling valued and respected”.

Poverty is a significant barrier to children enjoying their right to an adequate standard of living. Poverty is associated with a wide range of negative consequences for children, including poor outcomes in cognitive development, achievement at school, health and development. Families and children who lack material and financial resources struggle to meet everyday needs and miss out on opportunities that most in Aotearoa take for granted.

This eighth annual Child Poverty Monitor updates progress made toward a society where every child is valued and enjoys their right to thrive and achieve their potential. This report uses a variety of data sources to measure indicators and impacts of poverty for households with children. Data in this report mostly precede the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the actions taken by the New Zealand Government to eliminate community transmission of the novel coronavirus. In addition to monitoring how Aotearoa meets its commitments to uphold the rights of every child and young person in non-pandemic contexts, having pre-COVID-19 information on the status of poverty and wellbeing in Aotearoa will assist with ascertaining the impact that the pandemic has had on the lives of all people and especially on the lives of our most vulnerable. The report is grouped into three chapters:

  • Ending child poverty: The first group of indicators reflects indicators of progress toward a reduction in the number and proportion of children living in households that experience income poverty and material hardship.
  • Growing up in a safe and healthy environment: The second group of indicators tracks progress toward goals to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing, ensuring access to affordable, healthy homes, ensuring access to sufficient and nutritious food, promoting nurture and protection within families and wider society as well as providing equitable, high quality education for all.
  • Resources to thrive: The final section discusses the broader context in which families and whānau access resources to enable children to thrive. The discussion includes labour market circumstances, and information about children who are included in households who receive financial assistance from the State in the form of income-replacing benefits, hardship and other forms of assistance, and young people receiving financial assistance.

About the Child Poverty Monitor

The Child Poverty Monitor is a partnership between the J R McKenzie Trust, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, and the New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service (NZCYES) at the University of Otago. Each year the Child Poverty Monitor partners choose indicators that reflect aspects of the extent to which children and young people in Aotearoa grow up in households with the resources for everyone to thrive. There is a lag between collection of data in national surveys and publication of the results. Much of the data in the 2020 Child Poverty Monitor stops short of providing information about the impact of COVID-19, as it reflects a time before the pandemic started and before the measures implemented to reduce infection in the communities. Timely processing of data will aid future monitoring of progress toward elimination of child poverty.

Click here to read the 2020 report

Category: Reports