The Wellbeing Budget

Child Poverty Report

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What are the current trends in child poverty?

On 2 April 2019 the Government Statistician published the first report on the primary and supplementary measures.2 Rates for the three primary measures in Stats NZ’s report are presented in Figures 16, 17 and 18 (the green line). The trends are broadly as follows:

  • The rate on the before-housing-cost moving-line measure shows a slight rising trend from 2006/07 onwards.

  • The rate on the fixed-line after-housing-cost measure has been steadily trending downwards from 2010/11.

  • Following a significant rise between 2007 and 2011, the material hardship rate is trending down.3

When a country is experiencing broadly favourable economic conditions and wage growth, the general pattern is for incomes in the middle of the income distribution to increase at a slightly faster rate than incomes at the bottom. As a consequence, without specific government intervention, rates of child poverty on the moving‑line measure will generally gradually increase over time.


  1. 2. See Stats NZ website for full report:

  2. 3. MSD has provided an account of how recent figures can be understood within the context of past reporting (see Perry, MSD Working Paper 02/19 Stats NZ Child Poverty Statistics release, 2 April 2019: MSD Background and Overview, MSD, 2019).

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