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Levels of multiple deprivation

Deprivation experienced

The following section looks at the levels of deprivation experienced by individuals and their children. Saunders, et al. (2007) [15] define deprivation as the lack of resources that prevent people from accessing essential goods and activities. In addition, Saunders et al. note that severe deprivation corresponds to missing out on five or more essential items. Further, in developing the Essentials of Life scale, Saunders et al. note that it is more likely that those individuals who experience several forms of deprivation simultaneously have been forced into this situation rather than choosing it.

In this section, the levels of multiple deprivation are analysed for the total survey sample and for those individuals and families on the Newstart Allowance (34%) and those in receipt of the Disability Support Pension (30%), the latter two representing income support payments for the majority of respondents (Chart 17). In addition, an analysis of the levels of multiple deprivation experienced by all children of parents within the total survey cohort and for parents in receipt of the Newstart Allowance and Disability Support Pension is also considered (Chart 18).

Overall the level of multiple deprivations for the total survey sample was extremely high. It is evident from the data that this cohort is generally doing without many of the essential items rather than just a couple at any point in time. Seventy eight per cent recorded five or more indicators simultaneously, indicating severe levels of deprivation (Chart 17).

“Medications are very expensive, and with food and electricity I am trying very hard to make ends meet.” - Respondent comment

The level of severity of deprivation is pronounced for single parents on Newstart Allowance and those on the Disability Support Pension, with 83% and 80% respectively recording doing without five or more of the essential items simultaneously, indicating severe levels of deprivation.

The level of multiple deprivations for children in general is of significant concern. While a quarter of children in the general cohort were not deprived of any of the basic essentials, 20 per cent were missing out on at least one item and 12 per cent were missing out on five or six items, indicating severe deprivation.

Additionally, the children of parents on the Newstart Allowance are not fairing as well, with only 19 per cent not missing out on any items. Sixty three per cent were missing out on between one and three of the essential items.

Although the rates are low, the number of children who are missing out on all the items considered essential to everyday life is of considerable concern.

The data provides evidence that single parent families are experiencing the highest levels of disadvantage and more likely to be in less secure housing and are making significant restrictions on basic living needs. For many this is in the context of current substandard and inadequate living conditions. The resultant flow on effects and the impact of this level of deprivation on the children within families is of significant concern to The Salvation Army.

“My income is not enough because the amount of medication needed which is not on the PBS.” - Respondent comment

[15] Op cit Saunders, P. Naidoo, Y. & Griffiths, M. (2007)