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Child Poverty

The Child Poverty Monitor uses a variety of measures to paint a picture of how kiwi children are doing. The income poverty measure shows how many children are living in low income households, material hardship measures tell us how many children are missing out on essentials and severe poverty shows how many children are living in households with both low income and material hardship. 

When a child grows up in material hardship they miss out on things most New Zealanders take for granted. They might be living in a cold, damp, over-crowded house, they may not have warm or rain-proof clothing, their shoes may be worn, and on many days they may go hungry or go without nutritious food.

Many more don’t get to go to the doctor when they are sick because they can’t afford the costs of the appointment and the medicine. Others stay home from school because they don’t have all the uniform or lunch to take. Living in hardship can also cause lasting damage. It can mean doing badly at school, not getting a good job and having poor health. 

Many children living in low income households in New Zealand are also missing out. Low incomes can prevent children from experiencing a childhood full of the opportunities that we consider part of a kiwi experience. 

Every year the Child Poverty Monitor will track progress on improving things for kiwi kids.

The Child Poverty Monitor uses data from Otago University to show how many children are in different types of poverty. This data is based on official government reporting, including the Ministry of Social Development’s Household Incomes report and the Non-Income Measures report.

To find out more about child poverty, you can read the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group report Solutions to Child Poverty in New Zealand: Evidence for Action.