One third of respondents were single parents with one or more children (Chart 7), with over half of the cohort representing a household with children (Chart 8). Thirty per cent of the cohort were single people living on their own.
In terms of the number of children within households, 2,847 children aged between less than one year old and 19 years, were recorded. Over 50 per cent of households have one or more children, and almost one third of families have three to five children. Only three per cent of homes represented larger family groups with five or more children (Chart 9).
Of those households with children, 43 per cent were within the 7-15 year old age group (Chart 10). This represents the age group (8 years old) at which single rate Parenting Payment ceases and parents are transferred to the Newstart Allowance.
Over one quarter (28%) of children were under primary school age.
In summary, the survey cohort is significantly comprised of unemployed single mothers between the ages of 26 to 45, with children older than 7 years of age. Most of these families are living in private rental and are reliant on Newstart Allowance. The survey cohort indicates that the majority of families live in metropolitan suburbs of national cities.
This cohort is significantly impacted by the recent changes to parenting payments that have seen them moved onto Newstart Allowance. The Salvation Army and other community organisations in concert with ACOSS, the UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and business groups, including the Business Council of Australia, assert that this move has placed these individuals and their families at increased risk of poverty and disadvantage.
In its submission to the Senate Inquiry into the adequacy of the allowance payment system , The Salvation Army stated that, based on its experience:
”the inadequacy and inequity of payment rates increases the level of disadvantage and deprivation experienced by a core component of our client group who are already significantly marginalised.” (p.3)
Forty one per cent of the cohort were in private rental, compared to one quarter in public housing (Chart 11). Four per cent of respondents reported being homeless and three per cent reported residing in a boarding house during the survey period.