Officially there is no parameter to measure poverty in Australia. Sometimes different organizations and research groups make an effort to measure the poverty line. The Life Expectancy at birth is a good parameter to the judge the poverty line. According to the Human Development Report life expectancy in Australia is 78.9. In the decade of the 1970s Professor Ronald Henderson had come up with a method for calculating poverty line. This method is widely followed in Australia and every three months updates are made. The Smith Family has begun to publish regular data on Australian poverty since 2000. The Smith Family report of 2001 has given a statistics on Australia poverty line which is:
- 14.9% children of Australia are poor
- Total percentages of Australians who live in poverty are 13%
- Percentages of single parent families who live in poverty are 21.8%
The poverty lines in Australia are not consistent it changes and depends on the income levels of different income units. In 1973 Henderson poverty theory had established a benchmark income at $62.70. It was the income at that period for a comfortable subsistence of a family of a couple and two children who are dependent. This benchmark is updated regularly are very recently in March 2007 the poverty line has been upgraded to $661.45. The research and the estimates are made by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.
The poverty line is related to the income of the country. The measurement of the poverty line also changes with the rise in income of the community. The standard of living might be stable but the cost of living might change the value of the poverty line.
The standard of the indigenous Australian are not as well as the white Australians. The life expectancy rates are low, the unemployment rate is higher and the infant mortality rate is also high. ‘Absolute poverty’ is a reality among the aboriginals residing in Australia. Though there are government measures to uplift the situation and root problem has not been solved yet.