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Fall in living standards of children in single income couples.



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U N I V E R S I T Y OF C A N B E R R A

NATSEMNational Centre for Social and Economic Modelling Director: Professor Ann Harding Media Release Embargoed until 1am Monday 7 June

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Fall in living standards of children in single income couples

But mum going out to work fuels improvements for other children

Children living in couple families where only one of their parents worked faced a $24 a week fall in their average family incomes between 1982 and 1995-96, after taking full account of inflation and the needs of the family, according to the latest issue of the Income Distribution Report from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM1 at the University of Canberra.

But if both their parents were working, children experienced a $43 a week increase in their family incomes over this period. And children living in other types of families - most of whom were dependent upon social security benefits - were also about $43 a week better off.

‘Contrary to popular perception, the NATSEM study suggests that the living standards of children were more equal by the mid 1990s than in the early 1980s’, said Professor Ann Harding, one of the authors of the study. *

‘The decline in income inequality among Australian children was driven largely by an improvement in the living standards of those at the very bottom. While there is some evidence of growing inequality at the top of the income spectrum, this has not nearly been sufficient to swamp the much greater movement at the bottom of the income distribution’.

‘By 1995-95, almost 45 per cent of Australian children lived in families where both parents were in paid work. Just under one-third lived in couple families where only one parent worked - a dramatic drop since 1982.’

‘The results indicate that the extension of government assistance to low income working families, allied with improvements in social security, has had an enormous impact upon the living standards of Australian children’.

‘Looked at purely in monetary terms, children have also benefited from their mothers going out to work during this period’.

The latest issue of the Income Distribution Report, written by Ann Harding, Aggie Szukalska and Anthony King, was released today by NATSEM. NATSEM

For copies o f the paper contact: For further comment contact: Ms Penny Gallagher Professor Ann Harding

Ph: 02 62012750 Ph: 02 62012780 Mobile: 0407 223 161

University of Canberra ACT 2601 Australia

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email:hotline@natsem. canberra.edu.au