EXTRACT from an article by Larissa Mavros.
The report, produced with UNSW Sydney, for the first time allows young people to explain in revealing detail their experiences of poverty.
A pioneering study exploring poverty and disadvantage through the lens of young Australians has found a significant number are missing out on items and experiences deemed essential for living a normal life, such as fresh fruits and vegetables every day, internet access at home, school excursions, family holidays and some money of their own.
Researchers from UNSW Sydney say the study sheds important new light on the nature of child poverty, including its impact on wellbeing and attitudes to schooling.
The Material Deprivation and Social Exclusion Among Young Australians: A Child-Focused Approach report was produced by a collaboration between the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at UNSW, the NSW Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People, The Smith Family and the NSW Department of Education.
Professor Peter Saunders, the study’s lead researcher from SPRC, said while the approach had been used successfully with adults both in Australia and internationally, the report marked the first time it had been used to measure child poverty in Australia.
“This study represents the first attempt to measure deprivation and exclusion through the eyes of young Australians who are typically treated as passive and invisible in poverty research,” said Professor Saunders. “It is normally assumed they make no contributions to household income or spending, and that their views mirror those of their parents or carers. This report is grounded in and builds on children’s own views and experiences, giving a multidimensional perspective on poverty that has not previously been available.”
While the traditional approach looks at the incomes of young people’s parents or carers to determine whether a young person is in poverty, this new approach gives voice and agency to young people themselves. The study identified 18 essential items grouped into two broad categories: one that captures material deprivation (lack of ‘things’ like a computer or mobile device); and social exclusion (lack of doing ‘activities’ like a meal out with family or an annual holiday away). The findings reflect responses to a survey completed by almost 2700 NSW government high school students (GHS) in Years 7 to 10 and about 340 financially disadvantaged students in The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program (LFL).
SOURCE: Mavros, Larissa. “Living Without the Essentials: Report sheds new light on young Australians and poverty.” UNSW Newsroom, 26 November 2018.
Full report: Saunders, P., Bedford, M., Judith E. Brown, J., Naidoo, Y., & Adamson, E. (2018). Material Deprivation and Social Exclusion Among Young Australians: A child-focused approach (SPRC Report 24/18). Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney.
Link to research website
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia