Low income

Low income families and the long term unemployed

Employment is a significant factor in our wellbeing. Employment provides financial independence, and improves our physical and mental health by increasing our confidence, expanding our social networks and building our skills. Employment is a virtuous cycle.

On the flip side, long-term unemployment or underemployment can negatively impact our wellbeing. It can contribute to poor mental and physical health, social isolation and poverty. And it can negatively impact the wellbeing of our children. Children of parents who are unemployed or underemployed can face additional challenges and barriers in their own education and employment pathways, impacting their future prospects. Long-term unemployment or underemployment is a vicious cycle.

Who in South Australia are most likely to experience long-term unemployment or underemployment? Aboriginal people, mature aged people and people with a disability are all overrepresented among the long-term unemployed. Whereas women are significantly more likely to be underemployed than men.

Young people are more likely to be both long-term unemployed and underemployed than the rest of the labour force. The youth unemployment rate is nearly twice that for people aged over 25 years (11.3% for young people compared to 5.2% for the rest of the population) and nearly a quarter of young workers had been looking for more hours of work for a year.

Location can also contribute to employment opportunities. Some areas of the State have a much higher rate of long-term unemployment than others. These communities often also have much less access to social activities, services and community infrastructure.


Lisa Fowkes, Long-term unemployment in Australia, Policy Online, viewed 09 December 2015, http://apo.org.au/node/26955

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force, Australia, October 2015 Catalogue Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends, Sep 2011, Catalogue 4102.0, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Sep+2011#3

Young Australians: their health and wellbeing 2011, http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=10737419259

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