Many households exposed to unaffordable housing include dependent children and young people (Rowley and Ong 2012; Stone et al 2013). We know remarkably little, however, about the magnitude of this problem, and are only beginning to understand some of the ways these trends affect the childhoods and teen years of Australia’s children, their likely impact on children’s futures.
This report is one of the first of its type in Australia that seeks to chart the nature of housing change, and specific forms of housing disadvantage, experienced by children within mainstream parts of the housing system. Focusing on national change over time in children’s housing experience, as well as a more detailed investigation of how these changes have manifested spatially in the state of Victoria, the report presents evidence about numbers of children and young people themselves who are affected by affordability disadvantage in Australia’s fastest housing tenure: private rental.
The broad aims of this Report and the research underpinning it are four-fold:
- To enumerate numbers of children and young people affected by housing disadvantage within mainstream housing contexts, particularly exposure to rental affordability stress, as an evidence body to support responses to children and young people’s housing needs;
- To examine change over time in incidence and risk factors associated with childhood exposure to housing disadvantage, particularly rental affordability stress;
- To map the spatial distribution of children and young people’s exposure to housing disadvantage and rental affordability stress, including differences between metropolitan and regional areas and change over time;
- To highlight the ways in which changing family opportunities across the housing system, including spatially, are affecting next generation Australians and Victorians;
Finally, perhaps most importantly, to contribute to the as yet very small body of evidence that focuses explicitly on children’s housing – and in doing so raise awareness of the importance of children’s visibility in policy, practice and research in to the future.