Skip to main content


Cover of the 'Tough Times, Hard Choices' report

NCOSS has released its annual Cost of Living in NSW research investigating cost-of-living pressures for people living below the poverty line and low-income households in NSW.

Undertaken by the Institute of Public Policy and Governance from the University of Technology, Sydney in March and April of 2022, this research engaged 1,025 NSW residents through an online survey and 22 of these respondents through additional focus groups and interviews.

Tough Times, Hard Choices: Struggling households and the rising cost-of-living in NSW explores experiences across a range of issues such as housing, employment, income and financial hardship. It also analyses these experiences by demographic group including household type, income group and location, with some findings available at Statistical Area 4 level.

This research highlights that across NSW, low-income households and those below the poverty line are at breaking point. It gives an indication of the distress that the rapid increase in everyday living costs is causing, and the extreme steps households are taking. This aligns with reports from NCOSS member organisations of rising demand, greater complexity of need and the increased psychological distress of those seeking support.

Now is the time for the NSW Government to implement urgent, targeted measures that will ease the pressure for these households. Our recommendations to the NSW Government, set out in a supplementary paper, provide a practical roadmap to achieve this.

Read the report Tough Times, Hard Choices

Read the supplementary paper with recommendations


Cost-of-living and single parent households

Access to the raw data can be granted upon request. Please email your request to