Working Poor in Australia: An Analysis of Poverty Among Households in Which a Member is Employed

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Journal Article


This article presents an analysis of poverty among households where at least one member is employed part- or full-time, based on the most recent ABS Survey of Income and Housing (2005-06), and using the OECD half-median household disposable income poverty line. Although Australia's traditions of wage regulation and a safety net of government income support mean that paid employment is generally a guarantee against being in poverty, poverty persisted for around 3% of people in households where someone was employed, over the period 1997-2006. Comparing households in which someone is employed that were below the poverty line with all people in poverty in 2005-06, this analysis finds that the "working poor" have different characteristics to the overall subset of people in poverty. The majority of working poor households include couples with children. Furthermore, people living in these households are also more likely than other poor households to primarily source their income from wages and salary and have higher educational qualification. They are also less likely to have any recipients of government benefits in the household.


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