Rural areas susceptible to those in poverty, deprivation

AUSTRALIANS living in large towns and rural areas are more likely to experience poverty and deprivation than people living anywhere else, a Productivity Commission paper has revealed.

The paper, on "deep and persistent disadvantage in Australia", has analysed various measures of social exclusion, poverty and disadvantage.

It revealed 5% of Australians experienced deep disadvantage in 2010, many living in large regional towns and rural areas.

Among the other chief social factors determining poverty were low educational levels, single people, bad health, disability and lone parents.

However, for most groups, family support, personal resilience and opportunities for work or other engagement balanced out the risk factors.

But in remote and regional areas, where jobs were harder to come by and family might not be close, Australians were at higher risk of experiencing poverty or disadvantage.

"The prevalence of deprivation was highest in large towns and rural areas and lowest in the inner city," the report reads.

"Rates of social disengagement of residents from large towns and rural areas were found generally to be higher than those recorded by residents of the inner city."

The report also found rural and regional Australians were more likely to be excluded from dental and medical services, child care and financial services, due to their location.

In contrast, those living in the inner city recorded "higher rates of exclusion aged care and disability support services" than those from other regions.


Years in relative income poverty, 2001 -2010:

  • 60.4% of population spent no years in poverty
  • 14.2% spent one year in poverty
  • 7.7% spent two years in poverty
  • 4.9% spent three years in poverty
  • 3.4% spent four years in poverty
  • 2.6% spent five years in poverty
  • 7% spent between six and 10 years in poverty

SOURCE: Melbourne Institute, Productivity Commission.