Monday, March 04, 2013

Median time on welfare 7.4 years

I was reviewing some of the papers presented to the WWG back in 2010 and noted some important statistics relating to the degree of dependence on welfare in New Zealand. 

Of people aged 28-64 receiving benefit at June 2009 (for whom there is a full ten years since they turned 18), half had spent at least three-quarters of the preceding decade on benefit. Just under a quarter had received benefit for all of the decade.

- the median proportion of time spent on benefit in the preceding decade was 74%

- 23% had spent all of the preceding decade on benefit. 
- Māori were much more likely than non-Maori to be in receipt of benefit and had spent larger shares of time in receipt of benefit, on average, than non-Maori.

- Pacific people and people from “Other” ethnic groups in receipt of benefit had, on
average, spent smaller shares of time in receipt of benefit than both Māori and European benefit recipients.
(That last statistic is important because too often Pacific people get put together with Maori in a 'Polynesian' category. That does a disservice to Pacific people who aren't over-represented in the benefit system in either numbers or duration of dependence.)

A lot of left-leaning commentators and politicians play down welfare dependence by using statistics pertaining to  the total population use of benefits over time. Naturally many people do use welfare at some point and that skews the overall picture towards shorter periods in receipt. Here's an example from Jacinda Ardern:

"There are 112,000 sole parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. Most come off it within four years"
What she omits to mention is many go back on it quite quickly. The report linked to shows that at June 2009 73 percent of DPB sole parents had spent 50 percent or more of the preceding decade on a benefit. These are the numbers that describe long-term dependence - the problem welfare reforms are trying to reduce - and it is wilfully misleading  to use any others.


JC said...

Its the hospital beds syndrome, ie.. you have some people permanently bedridden so their occupancy is 100%. However, you also have beds where the average stay is only two days. When you total up the number of days of bed occupancy and divide by the total number of patients to get the glorious average you find the average stay is something like 4-5 days and you lose those 100% occupiers! :)


Lindsay Mitchell said...

I have Michael Tanner's description of that syndrome here:

JC said...

Whoops! so you did.

But then it should be repeated again and again wrt welfare.


Anonymous said...

A simple order in council would set both the long-term and short-term rates to 0% - for the DPB and for any other benefit.

Why oh why don't we do this and rid NZ of benefits once and for all?

Anonymous said...

Isn't about time that "anonymous" of 3:17pm used a name/ nom de plume? Previously there was a "sinner" with similar, yet religious, views.
Cannot tell whether this anonymous is a socialist in disguise

Tracey said...

To Anonymous of 3.17PM
Yes I agree.We would need to revert to where families fully support the disabled,sick,mentally unwell,unemployed elderly,family members who have been deserted by the father of their children and so forth.This is what happens in Singapore and other places.In fact parents can sue their children for support.This system would be hard to adjust to I believe.Most New Zealanders automatically think Family Support is a Tax Credit not something they would be directly involved in.Anonymous:- are you ready for the challenge?
If you dont have family maybe you could assist a long term mentally or physically disabled person to live.You appear from your ongoing comments to have a good set up as regards your own financial security.You dont seem like the majority of people who are 'Hand to mouth'.Just saying....

Tracey said...

To Anonymous 0f 3.17pm
It is a pity you have not responded to the above comment.I am waiting in anticipation your response.