Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lindsay Mitchell: 22% of babies born in 2011 on welfare by year-end

Data released to me under the official Information Act  last week show that 22.2 percent of babies born in 2011  were dependent on a caregiver receiving a benefit (DPB, UB, IB or SB) by the end of the same year.

Over one in five babies reliant on welfare by year-end is a sobering statistic. Almost half of the caregivers were Maori and half were aged 24 or younger.

There is an established pattern of childbearing followed by reasonably rapid, if not immediate, recourse to welfare in New Zealand.  This occurs during good and bad economic periods.

The implications for this high percentage lie in the likelihood of these children remaining on a benefit for many years. Ministry of Social Development research found, 'The older the child when they first have contact with the benefit system, the greater their likelihood of leaving benefit. Compared to those in contact at birth, those who first have contact between birth and six months have a 15% increase in the probability of leaving benefit. Between six months and one year there is a 33% increase, between one and two years there is a 41% increase, and first contact between two and three years is associated with a 56% increase in the probability of leaving benefit.'

These are the circumstances which are overwhelmingly contributing to New Zealand's child poverty problem.

3 comments:

Chuck Bird said...

Lindsay, I think we know what the DPB stands for how about the other benefits? Have you taken WFF into account?

Ben Hopkins said...

Please expalin your acronyms. I am not on welfare. Ben

Anonymous said...

I was shocked to learn of a couple with a one year old child who are both on the benefit and they told me that because neither of them work they are entitled to 30 hours free care per week. I was under the impression this was only for all three and four year olds.