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Thursday, 24 October 2019


  • In NSW, more than 888,000 people including one in six children live below the poverty line.
  • Women experience higher poverty rates than men.
  • Significant disadvantage for renters concentrated in outer suburban and regional areas.
  • Complex modelling maps poverty across small areas (ABS SA2 geography). Maps here.

Despite a resilient economy and abundant resources, new landmark research and maps bring into stark view the significant economic and social disadvantage throughout NSW.

This includes almost 900,000 people in the state living below the poverty line, with women making up the majority, and more than 16 per cent of NSW children living in poverty.

The research from the NSW Council of Social Service, and conducted by NATSEM at the University of Canberra, paints a sobering picture of the reality for too many people in NSW.

NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty, said the research maps out where disadvantage occurs in NSW and who is impacted by it.

“The reality is that NSW is the wealthiest state in one of the world’s wealthiest countries,” Ms Quilty said.

“What this research shows is that there is not one community in NSW that is unaffected by economic disadvantage, but there certainly are communities that are more affected.

“What we have produced is a map of where economic and social disadvantage exists in the premier state of the lucky country.

“NCOSS believes that postcodes should not determine the ability of people to get ahead, and this research should inform policy-makers to empower communities to reach their full potential.”

The ground-breaking research uses complex modelling techniques to map poverty rates and give an indication to the systemic barriers facing people in small areas (ABS SA2 geography). The maps can be viewed here.

“Because of this important work we now have a sophisticated picture of where people living with disadvantage are, to help governments and not-for-profits to focus their resources,” Ms Quilty said.

“It also shows us the characteristics of people living with disadvantage can vary strikingly between communities, and are influenced by factors as diverse as housing tenure or type, and employment.”

Ms Quilty said the research is an important tool for governments, NGOs and other service providers to inform their decision-making and ensure resources are being used effectively and efficiently.

“There is detail and nuance here that we have not seen before in NSW, which is why it should be such a valuable tool for policy-makers,” Ms Quilty said.

“In all communities, economic disadvantage is a confronting, daily reality for some people and we need to be doing more to remove the structural barriers that work to entrench this disadvantage.

“This work is an important tool for the community sector, governments and other organisations to inform decision-making, resource allocation and economic and social reforms.

“The pressures range from housing costs and unemployment, to healthcare access and support payments and all levels of government have a role to play to turn this around.”

The research specifically explores gender, age, housing tenure, family type, employment status, disability, CALD communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The full report can be found here.

To find out more about NCOSS, visit:

Media contact: Nick Trainor 0407 078 138