Hard knock life for many Kiwi kids, study reveals
Up to a third of families with children under two years of age are working multiple jobs to get by, new data suggests.
Researchers from the Growing Up in New Zealand study, tracking the development of 7000 children, also found that more than one in 10 children had experienced a change in their household makeup such as a divorce between the age of nine months and two years.
When it came to sources of income, 22 per cent of families were receiving income from three sources, 8 per cent from four and more than 3 per cent from five sources or more. In comparison 40 per cent received income from two sources and 26 per cent had only one source. Growing Up in New Zealand associate director Dr Polly Atatoa-Carr said she had been "constantly surprised" since starting work on the project.
The figures showed there were more households that included a flatmate rather than a single-parent household, so perhaps the way lower-income families were supported needed to be looked at.
"There's so much churn where these kids are living . . . it's important not to forget that so many kids are growing up living in some sort of hardship."
Other findings included half of families reporting they had been forced to buy cheaper food during their child's first year of life so they could buy other necessities.
Almost a fifth of respondents said they had put up with feeling cold to save on heating costs, while 13 per cent had used food grants or food banks.
Of the 7000 households taking part, 69 per cent were made up of two parents, 20 per cent parents with extended family and 5 per cent with a single parent.
Solo mother of two Carol MacDonald said money became much more of an issue when her partner left her when her youngest daughter was one-year-old.
After retraining as a nurse, she works at Middlemore Hospital. "I don't feel we're on the breadline but I feel I've got to be very watchful on what we spend."