Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

Latte line: poverty rises in parts of Sydney as gap hardens between citys east and west

Latte line: poverty rises in parts of Sydney as gap hardens between citys east and west


Latte line: poverty rises in parts of Sydney as gap hardens between citys east and west

The "latte line" dividing Sydney's western and eastern suburbs is hardening, with new research identifying deepening levels of poverty within already disadvantaged areas and groups.

A report commissioned by the New South Wales Council of Social Services (Ncoss) also found one in five renters are among more than 1 million people living in poverty in the state.

The report revealed the overall poverty rate has remained largely stable but that it has worsened for key groups in Sydney including people over 65, people living alone and the unemployed. The situation has likely worsened since the data was collected at the 2021 census due to the rising cost of living and other financial pressures.

Poverty was highly concentrated in some of Sydney's west and south-west suburbs, where nearly one in three people live in poverty, a gap of almost 30 percentage points when compared to rates near the coast and in some northern suburbs where less than 5% fall below the poverty line.

The report defined the poverty line as being 50% below the median household income. Adjustments were made depending on the number and age of people living in each household.

Ncoss's chief executive, Joanna Quilty, said the inequity warranted urgent attention and needed to be a focus for the new state government.

"It's a hardening of that latte line - we are seeing that divide absolutely firm up and become more pronounced," she said.

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