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Single parent families and children

Single parent families - income support

A total of 826 respondents identified as single parents, representing a total of 1,686 children. Eighty-six per cent of single parents were female, with the majority in the 25-45 age group (73%).

Over half of single parent families (52%) were in receipt of the single rate Parenting Payment and 28 per cent were in receipt of the Newstart Allowance. A further 16 per cent were in receipt of the Disability Support Pension (Chart 23).

Chart 23 Single parent families income support

"Due to rising costs of everyday living I am still finding it hard to make ends meet. Especially with bills, housing and food prices and school accessories." - Respondent comment

"I would like to get back to studying and hopefully be able to maintain stability for my kid." - Respondent comment


Single parent housing status

Almost half of the single parent respondents were in private rental accommodation (49%), with 29 per cent in public housing (Chart 24). Eight per cent of single parents and their children were homeless (Chart 24). Research indicates that family violence is the single most common contributing factor to women and children becoming homeless (1). Additionally, approximately 50% of women accessing The Salvation Army specialist homelessness women’s services also identified domestic and family violence as the main presenting issues (2)

Chart 24 single parent housing status

Single parent responses

Over 50 per cent of respondents felt their current financial situation was worse or a lot worse than last year, with almost a third (32%) seeing no change in their financial situation (Chart 25a).

Chart 25a - Single parent responses

Almost half of single parents felt positive about next year (49%). However, about 29 per cent felt that next year would be negative or very negative. Almost a quarter of single parents felt that their financial situation would not change in the coming 12 months (Chart 25b).

Chart 25b. Single Parent Responses

Reactions to financial situation

Two-thirds of single parents managing reduced financial resources by cutting down on basic necessities (66%), delaying payment of bills (64%) and almost one-third delayed rental payments to make ends meet (31%). The majority of single parents (64%) reported feeling stressed about their financial situation (Chart 26, page 29).Forty-six per cent of single parents were skipping meals and almost a quarter had taken on new debt to make ends meet (23%).

Chart 26 single parent saving money

"As long as my kids get their meals, I can go without and eat what is left over, what they don’t eat." - Respondent comment

"I find it so hard with the bills and rent and food. The money I am getting is not enough. I can’t find a job within school hours." - Respondent comment

"Our car broke down, fridge broke, and someone stole my daughter’s bag on the first day of school." -Respondent comment

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013) Specialist homelessness services 2012-13. Cat. No. HOU 273. Canberra: AIHW.
2. The Salvation Army Australia (2013) Homelessness across Australia: The Salvation Army’s Response. Melbourne: The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory.