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22 Percent of Babies Born in 2011 on Welfare by Year-End

Media Release

22 Percent of Babies Born in 2011 on Welfare by Year-End

Monday, 28 May, 2012

Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said that data released to her under the official Information Act show that 22.2 percent of babies born in 2011 were dependent on a caregiver receiving a benefit by the end of the same year.

"Over one in five babies reliant on welfare by year-end is a sobering statistic. Almost half of the caregivers were Maori and half were aged 24 or younger."

"There is an established pattern of childbearing followed by reasonably rapid, if not immediate, recourse to welfare in New Zealand. This occurs during good and bad economic periods."

"The implications for this high percentage lie in the likelihood of these children remaining on a benefit for many years. Ministry of Social Development research found, 'The older the child when they first have contact with the benefit system, the greater their likelihood of leaving benefit. Compared to those in contact at birth, those who first have contact between birth and six months have a 15% increase in the probability of leaving benefit. Between six months and one year there is a 33% increase, between one and two years there is a 41% increase, and first contact between two and three years is associated with a 56% increase in the probability of leaving benefit.' "

"These are the circumstances which are overwhelmingly contributing to New Zealand's child poverty problem."
ends


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