Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills’ latest annual Child Poverty Monitor says children living in households earning below 60 per cent of the median household income after housing costs, have almost doubled from 15 per cent of all children in 1984 to 29 per cent last year. Children hospitalised with poverty-related illnesses more than doubled in the 1990s and have increased further in the recent recession.
"Everything points to things being far tougher than they were 30 years ago. That's not right in a country like ours and it's not fair," said Dr Wills.
Otago epidemiologist Dr Jean Simpson said the increase in children hospitalised with poverty-related illnesses since 2007 was driven by more respiratory and viral infections associated with cold, damp and overcrowded houses. Housing costs have risen, and more are renting.
BY THE NUMBERS
305,000 Kiwi kids live in poverty - that's 29 per cent.
148,000 kids, or 14 per cent, go without the essentials - fruit, vegetables, warm housing and clothing.
Nine per cent of kids live in the most severe poverty
Three out of every five living in poverty, live that way for many years.