Capacity for Freedom – Using a New Poverty Measure to Look at Regional Differences in Living Standards within Australia




Using a recently developed measure of multidimensional poverty, the Freedom Poverty Measure, the difference in poverty rates of major cities, inner regional, and other areas have been compared. The population living in ‘other areas’ had the highest proportion of individuals living in freedom poverty. Those in inner regional areas (P = 0.0303) and those in major cities (P < 0.0001) were significantly less likely to be in freedom poverty than those in ‘other areas’. However, when breaking the analysis down to look at the different poverty rates for different age groups across the three regional classifications, it was found that there was no difference in the likelihood of being in freedom poverty between children in inner regional and other areas, adults in inner regional and other areas, and older people in inner regional and other areas. This may indicate that the disadvantage experienced by those living in regional centres has been overlooked in the past and is an emerging contemporary issue for health and education equity as well as economic equality.