Kiwi children’s social health on decline

As many as one in five children in New Zealand are reliant on someone on social benefit during 2008-10, according to New Zealand Children’s Social Health Monitor 2010.

“When all benefit types were taken into account, the total number of children relying on a benefit recipient increased from 211,609 in April 2008 to 243,884 in April 2010, with 20.7 percent of all New Zealand children being reliant on a benefit recipient at the end of April 2010,” the report says.

The unemployment rate has been recorded the highest among Maori, Pacific and Asian origin people and lowest for the European population.

“Both overall unemployment, and absolute increases in unemployment rates were highest for Maori and Pacific peoples during 2008-2010, with unemployment rates in the quarter ending September 2010 being 13.8 percent for Pacific peoples and 13.4 percent for Māori, as compared to 8.2 percent for Asian and 4.7 percent for European people.”

Research suggests that children exposed to low family income in the critical first five years, experience poorer health across a range of measures including hospital admissions and mortality from various causes. They also have poorer long term outcomes such as leaving school early and without qualifications, being unemployed in later life.

New Zealand’s children experience a large number of hospital admissions, and a smaller number of deaths each year, from socio-economically sensitive conditions, that is, conditions where rates are much higher in economically deprived areas.



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