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In work poverty report 2019 1.5 MB

This report examines the prevalence of and characteristics associated with, in-work poverty in New Zealand. The analysis within this study draws primarily on linked data from Inland Revenue and the 2013 Census, as well as supplementary information provided by the Household Labour Force Survey. Working status is derived from employment information over the year ending March 2013, and poverty status is derived from income information for March 2013.

Key findings:

  1. Headline estimate: Amongst working households, the proportion of households in poverty is 7.0 percent as of March 2013 (based on 60 percent before housing costs poverty threshold). This is equal to 50,943 households.
  2. Working status: More than four out of five New Zealand households (82.9 percent) with at least one working-age adult is classified as working (i.e., at least one adult in the household receives positive wages and salaries income for at least seven months in the year).
  3. Poverty rate: The overall average poverty rate across in-work and non-work households is 17.1 percent, with the rate of poverty close to 66 percent for non-work households.
  4. Education: As expected, the in-work poverty rate is strongly associated with educational attainment of the household. The in-work poverty rate for households without any qualification is 10.7 percent, but it is only 4.9 percent for households with a bachelor’s degree as the highest educational level.
  5. Gender: 7.7 percent of adult females are associated with an in-work poor household, while for men this number is 6.6 percent. The in-work poverty rate is also substantially higher if the main earner in the household is female (compared to male), regardless of household structure.
  6. Children: 10.0 percent of children living in working households are poor (compared with 7.2 percent of adults).
  7. Over time: There has been very little change in in-work poverty rates between 2007 and 2017.
  8. Region: Canterbury and Nelson exhibit the lowest values for in-work poverty prevalence (at 5.7 and 6 percent, respectively), whereas Northland and Gisborne exhibit the highest values (at 10.2 and 9.3 percent, respectively). There is substantial sub-regional variation in the Bay of Plenty and Wellington.
  9. Home ownership: The in-work poverty rate for homeowners is 5.2 percent, while this rises to 9.2 percent for renters. Moreover, where working poor households were renting, they spent (on average) every second dollar of their disposable income on rent, compared to every fourth dollar for in-work non-poor households.
  10. Ethnicity: Households with at least one adult with prioritised ethnicity of Māori (8.6 percent), Pacific peoples (9.5 percent), Asian (9.4 percent) and MELAA (9.5 percent) experience an elevated in-work poverty rate relative to households of New Zealand European ethnicity (5.9 percent).






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