Child poverty our biggest enemy

Growing up in poverty has pernicious, enduring, but preventable effects on children.

Research suggests that poverty is the single greatest threat to child wellbeing. Its negative effects endure and escalate across the entire lifespan.

It is concerning, therefore, that according to the recent report by the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty, approximately 270,000 New Zealand children grow up in poverty. Maori and Pasifika children are considerably over-represented. Even more striking are findings from New Zealand longitudinal research over a seven-year period, presented by researchers Kristie Carter and Fiona Gunasekara. The annual proportion of children living in low-income households was about 27 per cent , and 7.5 per cent of the youngest children were in poverty at all points of the study. The youngest age group (0-4 years) experienced the least movement out of these circumstances. Read more


Karen Salmon is an associate professor at Victoria University’s school of psychology.

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