Monday, May 30, 2016


Lindsay Mitchell will be known to many of you for her comments on this blog.   Lindsay also has her own blog at

I have just finished reading her report, commissioned by Family First, titled 'Child Poverty & Family Structure ... What the evidence is telling us'.   It's a must read.

Lindsay examines household incomes and family structures from the early 1960s through to the current day.   She argues that while unemployment, low wages, high housing costs and insufficient social welfare benefits are constantly blamed on child poverty, a major culprit - if not the major culprit - is family malformation ... that is a lack of two married committed parents.   Lindsay adduces the following evidence in support of her thesis:

  • Despite families being much smaller, parents being older, mothers being better educated and having much higher employment rates, child poverty has risen significantly since the 1960s.
  • In 1961 95% of children were born to married couples; by 2015 the proportion had fallen to 53%.   For Maori and in 1968 72% of births were to married parents but by 2014 this had fallen to just 21%.
  • In 2015 27% of registered births were to cohabiting parents.   But the risk of parental separation by the time the child is aged five is however 4-6 times greater than for married parents.
  • Single parent families  make up 28% of all families with dependent children.   These families are the poorest in New Zealand.
  • 51% of children in poverty live in single parent families.
  • Single parents have the lowest home ownership rates and the highest debt rates. 

The paper draws the conclusion that our rapidly changing family structure has contributed significantly to increasing income inequality.

Copies of the report can be downloaded for free at

Say it again ... well done Lindsay.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Yes, I saw this report and it is excellent. Will anybody take any notice?

Funny thing, you know. Christians (the moderate one) have been saying this for years.

Noel said...

Given Family First tailors its research to Jeaudo Christian leanings you shouldnt be surprised Adolf.

There are a lot of unmarried couples today with well adjusted future New Zealnd adults.

The difference between 1961 and 2011 is totally understandable given the changes in societal values during that time.
To derive that unmarried couples are somehow poor parents using that statistic is misrepresentation.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... I think the data on single parent families is the telling statistic ... and not overly surprising at all.

Noel said...

Single parent families telling.

Single parents have low home ownership.

Geez who was the brainbox who worked that one out?

At the present time a couple both working and no children are having difficulty finding a house they can afford.

Gerald said...

Oh shit I forgot Adolf you are not going to read it because it's Stuff and not the Australian.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... you're cherry picking one stat (home ownership) for whatever reason (you tell me). OK, I accept the report makes for uncomfortable reading among those sections of society who would have it that it is unfashionable to hold the view that a family comprising a husband/wife/partner is the best protector against child poverty .... but for myself I would have thought it a no brainer.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...


I just read your pathetic link which quotes a raving socialist and failed Anglican vicar. In fact the report spells out the cold hard facts you don't want to hear.

Anonymous said...


Ah threesomes are best?