Family health looks at children’s health and well-being in the context of their family unit. It focuses on the family and how it shapes individual life and health.

To ensure that the analysis is appropriate, we conduct the analysis by classing children by the ages when they were born, or the dates their birth certificates were issued. We do this in a way that reflects when the children in the data set were born. Because the number of children was greater than the number of people available to conduct the analysis, there is a possibility that there may have been some under-reporting. In order to mitigate this, the analysis is conducted within the data on a quarterly basis from January to December. We have done our best to ensure that the data is consistent. However, in some cases, there is room for interpretation. For example, the analysis of the child poverty rate can be affected by changes in the composition of the population since the last quarter. If there is an increase in the proportion of children born to a single parent then the proportion of children living in relative poverty in the quarter may increase. Similarly, a change in the proportion of children with disabilities (e.g. autism) in the population may lead to an increase in the relative poverty rate. It would be unfair to ask one or more households not to be able to pay their child support if they can prove that their child is not in relative poverty and therefore not in a position to receive child support. As we have stated before, all the data are adjusted for other factors that may be related to child poverty. We also recognise that households that have additional children are also more likely to have income in arrears, so the data are adjusted for non-payments by this household. In addition, the relative poverty rate in the quarters can fluctuate over the course of the year, so it is possible that there are more households in a given quarter where the rate is low and the rate is high in the following quarter.

In 201213 the proportion of children living in relative poverty was 17.9 percent, which was similar to the 201115 proportion of 18.7 percent.

In 201213, the relative poverty rate for all children was higher for Indigenous people (18.7 percent) than for non-Indigenous people (17.0 percent). However, the relative poverty rate for non-Indigenous children was lower than the 201213 rate for Indigenous children (17.7 percent) for the first time since 200102. Indigenous children accounted for 31.4 percent of all children in poverty in 201213. This was the highest proportion since 1993, which was also the year the ABS began measuring Indigenous children in poverty. From 1993 to 2012 the proportion of children living in relative poverty fell by 19.7 percentage points (the equivalent of nearly two years for the entire period), from 29.8 percent in 1993 to 13.1 percent in 201213. While there were improvements in the relative poverty rate for Indigenous people, the rate for non-Indigenous people increased for the third year in a row, up 3.5 percentage points between 2011 and 201213.

The total percentage of children under 18 living in relative poverty fell from 43.4 percent to 36.6 percent between 1993 and 201213, while the proportion in absolute poverty rose from 31.1 percent to 38.5 percent (Table 5). Indigenous children are concentrated in relative poverty, whereas non-Indigenous children are concentrated in absolute poverty.

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