Notes on the data: Income support

Children in low income, welfare-dependent families, June 2016


Policy context:  Children living in families either solely or largely dependent on government for their income have the least access to financial and other resources, and are more likely to have lower achievements in education and poorer health outcomes than their more advantaged peers [1]. In particular, extreme stressful events, such as homelessness, victimisation or abuse, can have long-term effects on children’s outcomes [1].


  1. Jones E, Gutman L, Platt L. Family stressors and children's outcomes. (Report for UK Department for Education). London, UK: Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre; 2013.
  2. Smart D, Sanson A, Baxter J, Edwards B, Hayes A. Home-to-school transitions for financially disadvantaged children. Sydney: The Smith Family; 2008.
  3. Barnett M. Economic disadvantage in complex family systems: expansion of family stress models. Clin Child Fam Psych Rev. 2008;11(3):145-61.
  4. Hilferty F, Redmond G, Katz I. The implications of poverty on children's readiness to learn. Australas. J Early Childhood 2010;35(4):63-71.

Notes:  Children included are those under 16 years of age and living in families with incomes under $37,378 p.a. in receipt of the Family Tax Benefit (A) (whether receiving income support payments or not). The families these children are living in would all receive the Family Tax Benefit (A) at the maximum level.

The level of income used for these data was based on Poverty Lines: Australia, June Quarter 2016 which contains a weekly income for a single parent with two children, including housing costs. Poverty Lines: Australia is a quarterly newsletter that updates the Henderson Poverty Line as defined in the 1973 Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Poverty. Poverty lines are presented for a range of family sizes, in order to avoid the situation of poverty. The updated Poverty Lines take into account changes in the average income level of all Australians, reflecting the idea that poverty is relative.

Data cells with less than 5 counts were removed (confidentialised).


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintiles and Remoteness Areas

Numerator:  Children under 16 years of age in low income families receiving welfare payments from the Department of Human Services: families included are those with incomes under $37,378 p.a. in receipt of the Family Tax Benefit (A) (whether receiving income support payments or not)


Denominator:  All children under 16 years of age


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the Department of Social Services, June 2016; and ABS Estimated Resident Population, 30 June 2015.


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