BCEC Report

Behind the Line: Poverty and disadvantage in Australia 2022

Report SeriesFocus on The States
PublishedMarch 2022
PublisherBankwest Curtin Economics Centre

This report, the ninth in the Focus on the States series, provides the latest examination of the prevalence of poverty within Australia, how this has changed over time, and which groups in society face the greatest risks of financial hardship and material deprivation.

The report looks at how income poverty has changed through the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and examines how Australia’s states and territories compare in the prevalence of poverty and disadvantage, and seek to understand more about people’s journeys into poverty, and the pathways and supports to escape from financial hardship.

The measurement of income poverty in the report assesses the number of people whose incomes fall below a poverty line as a representation of a basic living standard. But much of this Focus on the States report looks ‘behind the line’, exploring deeper issues that highlight how poverty affects people’s livelihoods and life chances, and their sense of wellbeing.

The report reveals the scarring effects of childhood poverty on life outcomes in adulthood, and shows the extent to which prolonged experiences of poverty affect mental health and exert psychological trauma. It also puts forward for consideration a range of policy recommendations that would go some way to alleviating and assisting people to escape the poverty trap.