Too many kiwi children live in poverty.

What are the facts in New Zealand?

In 2019, 328,200 children (29.0%) live in a low-income household.*

UNICEF defines child poverty as children being deprived of the material, spiritual and emotional resources needed to survive, develop and thrive.

This leaves them unable to enjoy their rights, achieve their full potential or participate as full and equal members of society.

Here in New Zealand, children living in the most disadvantaged communities are more than twice as likely to end up in hospital as those from the most advantaged communities, and one in five children live in households without access to enough food or healthy food.

* According to the 2020 Technical Report from the Child Poverty Monitor

What does income poverty mean for kids?

Missing Out On EssentialsSocial ExclusionHealth Consequences
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Income poverty

Living in income poverty can mean homelessness, not having access to healthy food like fruits and vegetables, going to school hungry, or coming home to a cold damp house to sleep in a shared bed. It can mean missing out on activities like learning a musical instrument or playing sport, or even having a birthday party.


If a child's living below the poverty line, it means they are living in households where income is less than 60% of the median household income, after housing costs are taken into consideration.

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Social Exclusion

Social exclusion as a result of income poverty can also be detrimental to the mental wellbeing of New Zealand kids.


They may be bullied for not wearing the right school uniform, or stressed from having to move house constantly due to rent increases.

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Health Consequences

Children in poor communities are twice as likely to end up in hospital*, and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy rates are more than 6 times higher for infants in the most disadvantaged areas of New Zealand*.


These harmful effects run into adulthood. Growing up with income poverty means having a higher risk of heart disease, alcohol and drug addiction, obesity and poor dental health.

* According to the 2020 Technical Report from the Child Poverty Monitor
* According to the 2017 CPAG report


New Zealand's responsibilities to its children

As a signatory to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) New Zealand has affirmed that children should be given the opportunity to achieve their full potential and participate as equal members of New Zealand society.


Making things fair for every child

Child poverty is a reality that is costing us dearly.

How to fix this

New Zealand has committed to implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. One of the first goals is to halve the number of kids living in poverty by 2030.

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