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Salvos research reveals millions of Aussies in hardship this Christmas

14 December 2018

New Salvation Army research has revealed over three million Australians are likely to contact a charity for help with basic necessities such as food, power, or other bills this Christmas.i

The research, commissioned through Roy Morgan as part of The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, also reveals:

  • Nearly half a million people (437,000) experienced fear of being physically or emotionally abused when thinking back to last Christmas.ii
  • One in four Australian adults experienced anxiety, three million experienced depression and two million experienced social isolation when thinking back to last Christmas.iii
  • 6 million Australians feel obligated to spend more than they can afford at Christmas.iv
  • 7.6 million Australians say Christmas is the most stressful time of year.v

Major Bruce Harmer of The Salvation Army says: “We see hardship at The Salvation Army on a daily basis, but these results are surprising and suggest the real picture of poverty in Australia is worse than previously thought.”

Major Harmer says the Salvos will likely see an increased strain on its services this Christmas, in what will be their busiest time of year.

“This increased need will see more people seeking our help this Christmas. Typically, more than 300,000 people turn to The Salvation Army for support at this time of year. We also distribute over 100,000 meals and distribute more than half a million toys and gifts for Aussies in need at Christmas,” Major Harmer says.

With 69% of those surveyed revealing that spending time with family and friends was their favourite memory of last Christmas, Major Harmer says it’s important to remember those who will be going it alone this festive season.

“Hardship and loneliness hits hardest during the Christmas period. Across the country there are literally millions of Australians needing support. So please, donate to The Salvation Army and help us give hope where it’s needed most this Christmas.”

The Salvation Army urges anyone in need of assistance this Christmas to reach out for support. For anyone who would like to donate to The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, a gift of $29 will allow the Salvos to put food on the table and presents under the tree for Aussies in need.

Note: The Roy Morgan research involved 1042 respondents, representing 19,455,000 people.


Snapshot of clients accessing Salvation Army emergency relief services*

  • 95% of all households who access the Salvos’ emergency services are living in poverty.
  • The average client is living on just $21 a day after paying accommodation expenses.  81% of people privately renting or paying a mortgage are living under extreme housing stress, paying more than half of their income towards housing.
  • 43% have very limited social connections and feel isolated most of the time.
  • 67% report that food affordability is their greatest challenge on a day-to-day basis.

*Extracted from the 2018 National Economic Social Impact Survey

Salvation Army services at Christmas

The Salvation Army supports hundreds of thousands of Australians every year, providing a host of vital social services including:

- Christmas Cheer program that provides hampers, food and gifts. The Salvos also host Christmas luncheons around the country.
- Family welfare assistance.
- Refuge for women and children in crisis.
- Homeless shelters.
- Youth drop-in centres and support programs.
- Emergency and disaster relief.
- Drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
- Employment services and training programs.
- Chaplaincy support.

For more information or media comment, please contact The Salvation Army Media Department on (02) 9466 3143

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i Equivalent to 15.5% of Australian adults
ii Equivalent to 2.25% of Australian adults iii Anxiety (25.1%), Social Isolation (10.6%), Depression (15.0%), Stress (36.8%)
iv Equivalent to 31.1% of Australian adults
v Equivalent to 39.0% of Australian adults

The Salvation Army Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet and work and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.

We value people of all cultures, languages, capacities, sexual orientations, gender identities and/or expressions. We are committed to providing programs that are fully inclusive. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of people of all ages, particularly children.

The Salvation Army is an international movement. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name with love and without discrimination.

13 SALVOS (13 72 58)

Gifts of $2 or more to the social work of The Salvation Army in Australia are tax deductible.Details and ABNs

Hope where it's needed most