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Demographics

A total of n =2,406 respondents completed the survey.

Women represented 63% of respondents, the same proportion as last year’s sample. This gender difference is also represented in ACOSS’ 2014 poverty report.29 The gender split may be attributed to women being the primary carers for children. With the cost of childcare, reduced employment and lack of flexible employment opportunities making women more reliant on others for income. Women may also demonstrate a greater willingness to access support services.

Eighty-two per cent of respondents were aged between 25 and 59 years of age.

This would generally be considered an optimal age range for workforce participation;30  instead this cohort represented the highest group accessing Salvation Army ER services. Similar results were recorded in previous surveys.

The majority of respondents resided in Victoria (29%) and New South Wales (27%) and lived in the city or main towns (61%).

Ninety-two per cent were Australia citizens.

Sixteen per cent of respondents identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

These figures are significantly higher than the proportion of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples’ population in Australia (3%).31 

29. ACOSS (2014). Poverty in Australia 2014 (4th ed.). Australian Council of Social Services. Accessed 24 April 2015, viewed here
30. ABS 2013. Labour force participation. Accessed 4 May 2015, viewed here
31. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011, Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, cat. No. 3238.0.55.001. Accessed 19 August 2014, viewed here