EXTRACT from an article by Nicolas Herault, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne; Francisco Azpitarte*, Ronald Henderson Research Fellow Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Research, University of Melbourne and Research and Policy Centre, Brotherhood of St Laurence, and Guy Johnson Professor, Urban Housing and Homelessness, RMIT University.
Poverty is often perceived as an ongoing problem for only a very small number of people, and for most households it is a temporary phase that does not last long.
But less than 15% of the most disadvantaged people in Australia exit poverty from one year to the next, according to data from the Journeys Home survey, run by the Melbourne Institute.
The view that poverty is largely a transitional experience has influenced the design, implementation and even the evaluation of welfare policy in Australia. If poverty is a temporary phenomenon, then support can take the form of an insurance scheme to supplement income during the limited time spent in poverty.
However, our research suggests that income poverty is persistent for a small group of Australians and is combined with other forms of disadvantage. Supporting these people in finding a pathway out of poverty requires deeper interventions, including targeted health, education and social policies.
Most of the evidence we have on the persistence of poverty is based on long-term surveys designed to be representative of the entire population. Although these surveys offer broad coverage of the population, such surveys are typically limited in their ability to capture the most disadvantaged groups because they constitute only a small part of the general population.
This makes it difficult to produce reliable estimates of the extent of poverty among extremely disadvantaged households. [Continues …]
SOURCE: Herault, Nicholas; Azpitarte, Francisco* and Johnson, Guy. “New Evidence Suggests We May Need to Rethink Policies Aimed at Poverty.” The Conversation, 23 February, 2018.
*Francisco Azpitarte is the Ronald Henderson Research Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Research, University of Melbourne and Research Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia