What causes Poverty?

“Relative poverty defines poverty in relation to the economic status of other members of the society: people are poor if they fall below prevailing standards of living in a given societal context.” – UNESCO

In countries such as Australia, poverty is not caused by the same factors as those in third world countries. It is important that we need to understand that poverty and homelessness is not a choice. Poverty can be caused by a whole range of factors. When people face unemployment, high mortgage rates, increasing rent prices and persistent inequality in society, these factors can ultimately lead to poverty.

Often children facing poverty live in a single-parent income household, where one parent has to take care of 1 or more children and themselves on a weekly income of $400. A lot of the times, if these single parents are women they could also be facing gender inequality issues regarding their pay rates. Supporting yourself and your family can be hard enough as it is but when you have to pay bills, a mortgage/rent, and provide basic needs for yourself and your child.


According to Allison McClellan’s research  ‘No Child: Child Poverty in Australia’, the reasons for child poverty and inequality in Australia. Children at great risk of poverty include:

  • Indigenous Australian children,
  • The children of sole-parent families,
  • Children where no parent is in paid work,
  • Children where the prime source of income is government income support,
  • Children in public or private rental accommodation, and
  • Children with parents from certain non-English speaking backgrounds

With a new Liberal Government in place in Australia, the government needs to examine the reasons behind why poverty and child poverty in particular is so prevalent. Government incentives, welfare benefits and price ceilings can be placed in particular areas to help disadvantaged families and children. Housing costs and availability still play a critical role in child poverty. The declining role of public housing has also influenced the rising rate of Child Poverty. The availability of low-cost rental accommodation has reduced while levels of evictions have been increasing. Inefficient income support payments. Rent Assistance and Child Support Schemes need to be altered to help families cope with the pressures of modern day life.

Your Child Poverty Advocate,



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