About half of Pacific teens living in poverty

A study has found that nearly half of Pacific secondary school students in New Zealand are living in poverty.



Results showed that 20% of New Zealand young people are living in households experiencing socio-economic hardship or poverty.

Published in the International Journal for Equity in Health, using data from a study of 8500 students conducted in 2012, the study found major ethnic inequalities among the number of young people found to be living in poverty.

Overall one in five young people were found to be suffering hardship and two thirds of that group had housing issues such as living in garages or using living rooms as bedrooms.

One of the study's authors, senior lecturer Dr Terry Flemming, said the government needs to do more.

"So this highlights that it's two things - it's poverty, that's a problem, but also inequality in itself is incredibly harmful and incredibly toxic.

“So yes, it requires systematic policies to reduce poverty and also inequality in New Zealand."

Dr Flemming said depressive symptoms and cigarette smoking were two to three times higher among the poverty group, compared to students not experiencing poverty.