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Almost 900,000 people, including one in six children, live below the relative poverty line in New South Wales (NSW), new data released Thursday revealed. 

A new report from the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) maps significant economic disadvantaged in the state and shows children, single women, Indigenous Australians, people living with a disability, and those in regional areas are the most likely to be impacted.

NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty says the one-of-a-kind study corresponds to the most up-to-date census data from 2016 and uses “complex modeling techniques” to chart poverty rates.

“The reality is that NSW is the wealthiest state in one of the world’s wealthiest countries,” Quilty said in a press release. “What this research shows is that there is not one community in NSW that is unaffected by economic disadvantage, but there certainly are communities that are more affected.”

According to the report, women are more likely to live in poverty than men. 

For all people over the age of 15 living below the poverty line, women make up 53.6%, against 46.4% for men. 

The higher rates of economic disadvantaged for women have been linked back to high numbers of older women living alone and the fact that female-headed households — including single-parent families — typically have lower incomes.  

Living below the poverty line, as defined in the report, refers to earning 50% less than the median Australian household income — around $1,616 according to 2016 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Unemployed individuals are considerably more likely to live in poverty; however, 5% of full-time workers, or 107,000 people, are also impacted.

Those living in regional NSW are also much more likely to live in poverty than Sydneysiders — still, high rates of poverty also exist in the southwestern Sydney suburbs of Guildford and South Granville. 

Indigenous Australians and those living with a disability have twice the rates of poverty than the overall NSW population, added the report.

Researchers behind the report hope the landmark data can help policy-makers focus their efforts on assisting at-risk communities to “reach their full potential.”

Anna Bacik, director of policy and research at NCOSS, told AAP it was vital the government address failures across housing costs, job-seeking support payments, and unemployment rates as it is “entirely possible” the poverty rate will only increase due to the ongoing drought and the rising cost of living.

"It’s pretty clear from everything we read that [poverty rates] will have an ongoing cost to communities, socially and economically," she said.


Defeat Poverty

Almost 900,000 People Live in Poverty in New South Wales, Australia’s Wealthiest State

By Madeleine Keck