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Poverty problem underestimated

Many of the kids returning to school this month are living in poverty but most of us don’t realise how extensive the problem is, a new survey has found, according to ABC News.

Charities say going back to school is often a reminder for children of the pressure their family is under, and for parents keeping up with the technology that kids require at school is increasing the burden on their finances.

Queensland General Manager of The Smith Family, Alan Le May, said the charity’s latest data found almost 70 per cent of Australians underestimated the number of children living in poverty, despite more than half noticing disadvantage in their local area.

“So one in six young people are impacted by poverty and not many of the respondents to our survey were able to identify that,” Mr Le May said.

“We look around us and we see generally a lot of affluence … I think it depends where we live and where we go and who we identify with.

“If you work predominately in the CBD and you come from a well-off suburb then you’re not going to see the extent to which poverty is affecting families.”

He said there was a “veneer of affluence” in the community.

Mr Le May said it had been a tough start to the year for poor families in areas affected by bushfires.

“Some of the communities that we work in, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, have been devastated by fire and so for families to recover is going to be quite challenging,” he said.

According to the Australian Council for Social Service more than 3 million Australians live below the poverty line, including one in six children.

The overall poverty rate in Australia was 12.8 per cent in 2015-16.

It was 11.2 per cent in 2002-03.


Problem of poverty underestimated as back to school costs hit families under pressure (ABC News)


One in six Australian children are living in poverty. (ABC News: Danielle Bonica)