The causes of poverty can be varied, with a number of factors at play.
Work and income plays a significant impact in poverty. A large number of people who live in poverty are unemployed but there are a number of Australians who are underemployed (working below their skill level or for less hours than they would like), or in a family where one person works who are also living in poverty (called the ‘working poor’).
Structural factors such as unaffordable housing, place-based disadvantage and low education levels can contribute to poverty.
How many people live in poverty in Australia?
There are 2,265,000 people in Australia living in povertyii and 575,000 children living below the poverty line.
Homelessness and poverty
Poverty is an underlying cause of homelessness. The circumstances of poverty that can lead a person to become homeless include: having little money, debt, a lack of education, poor mental and physical health, disability, reliance on public housing, living in sub-standard accommodation and social exclusion.Not everyone who approaches specialist homelessness services is homeless: over half of people are at risk of homelessness and are looking for assistance to retain their housing or to get general help (such as material aid or brokerage). 47% of people seeking assistance from specialist homelessness services did so because of financial issues