2013 HILDA report sounds the alarm on child poverty

Australian children under the care of just one parent are three times more likely than other children to live in poverty, new data from Australia’s most comprehensive household survey has revealed.

The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, produced by the Melbourne Institute within the Faculty, found 24.1% of children living with a single parent are subjected to poverty, compared with just 7.6% of children in two-parent homes.

The rate of lone parent child poverty has jumped a staggering 15% since 2001.

The report’s editor and co-author, Associate Professor Roger Wilkins from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research, said the results were startling.

“These figures show that while some progress has been made to drag children out of poverty, big challenges remain,” he said.

The HILDA report, released in full today, also found that:

* Big life events only affect our happiness for two years.


This analyzed the declared life satisfaction of thousands of Australians at intervals within three years of a significant life event, like winning the lotto, having a kid or being assaulted.

A person’s happiness level most commonly returned to normal within a few years – but there were some surprise results!

The rich are still rich, but the poor are gaining.


In a decade Australian household wealth bulged, lower income households got wealthier and the wealthiest Australians stayed wealthy.

The research showed that the Global Financial Crisis slowed the pace of wealth growth but households still managed to increase their wealth.

Anti-smoking campaigns aren’t working on older Australians.


Australia has experienced a substantial decline in smoking rates over the past decade, with teenagers shunning cigarettes but older Australians still refusing to butt out.

Australians are ditching shares in favour of investment properties.


The research found the proportion of households holding investment properties has grown significantly from 16.1% in 2002 to 20.1% in 2010.

The proportion of households directly owning shares declined from 39% in 2002 to 34% in 2010.

HILDA is Australia’s only large-scale nationally representative longitudinal household survey.  It uses annual interviews with more than 12,000 Australians to create a detailed picture of how their lives are changing over time. Data collection was undertaken by Roy Morgan Research, a private market research company.

“Since it began in 2001, HILDA has provided valuable insights into the economic and social lives of Australians ” according to Associate Professor Wilkins.

“It is a powerful tool that provides a ‘moving picture’ of emerging issues and trends in Australia.”

University of Melbourne researchers will use the data over the next 12 months to produce more comprehensive reports on specific areas of social and economic policy.

The HILDA Survey is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).

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