SEATTLE — Poverty in Australia seems to be a classic issue of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. In 2016, almost three million people were living below the poverty line, which the Australian Council of Social Service classifies as 50 percent of the median income. Additionally, 13.3 percent of Australians were living below the internationally accepted poverty line.
The number of citizens living in poverty has slowly increased in the last 10 years. While the country’s economy continues to grow and prosper, the people themselves aren’t seeing much change.
One of the main trends seen in Australia is the difference between the income of the rich and the poor, and more specifically, the widening gap between the two economic classes. The wealthiest 10 percent of the nation claims about 45 percent of the country’s wealth, and their income is increasing rapidly. While the top 20 percent of the population’s income increased by 28 percent from 2004 to 2012, the bottom’s income only increased by three percent.
Recently, parents of single-parent households are facing more issues than ever. With the small amount of increase in wages and the large spike of childcare costs, single parents are struggling to stay afloat. The likelihood of a single-parent to suffer from poverty in Australia is as high as 20 to 25 percent, double that of two-parent households.
Within the past few decades, the Australian government has increased the amount of welfare given to the poor in the hopes of alleviating their suffering. While this has done much to prevent to alleviate poverty and improve social services, especially for children, the fight to end poverty still has a long way to go. Luckily, poverty in Australia is not the worst seen in the world today. While there are many living in poverty, the government works toward creating social programs to end problems such as homelessness.
– Olivia Hayes