Fewer teen parents, less poverty

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of young mothers requiring a benefit has almost halved since 2009, meaning better lives for these families and fewer long-term beneficiaries.

Figures show that there were 48 per cent fewer teen mums on main benefits at the end of 2014 compared to 2009.

Teen parents spend an average 19 years on a benefit, and have some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare.

“The significant reduction in teen mums on benefit is very pleasing, following the range of supports that this Government has provided to young parents,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Through our major investment in Youth Services we are enabling these young people to take part in education and training to give them the tools they need to get into employment.

“Alongside this we have increased their access to budgeting and parenting courses and childcare. 

“We want to see these young mums become successful, independent women with children who are thriving, rather than relying on benefits for decades to come.

“These statistics show that they are taking full advantage of the opportunities provided, which is great news for these young families and for taxpayers.”

Young mothers receiving a main benefit, at end of December 2009, 2013 and 2014

Big reduction in young mums on benefit

Fewer teenage mothers means fewer children in poverty.
"We think it’s great that more young families are being supported to move off welfare and into work.<br /><br />

7 Responses to Fewer teen parents, less poverty

  1. Lindsay says:

    Fewer teen mums on welfare…except in Northland, I suspect, where the teenage birthrate continues to trend up:-(

    But agree that this is a great development.


  2. Andrei says:

    But what are populations of the compared age cohorts in the selected years?

    Therein might lie the rub……

    I don’t know the answer but I can ask the question and it is one in need answering because without including that what is reported are mere numbers


  3. Lindsay says:

    In the respective agebands the differences between 2009 and 2014 are: -2.5%, -3% and -2.8%.

    From population estimates, Infoshare, NZ Stats.


  4. Andrei says:

    In other words Lindsay there are actually fewer females these age groups in 2014 than there were in 2009 – which of course means?

    Serious number crunching would be required to examine whether this is a significant triumph of social policy or whether it is just a manipulation of figures


  5. Lindsay says:

    Yes, there are slightly fewer females in each age band (eg -2.5% 16 year-olds) but ‘significantly’ (in the statistical sense) fewer teen mothers reliant on welfare in each age band (eg -45% 16 year-olds).

    I doubt there is any manipulation because the teenage birth rate (which cannot be manipulated) has also fallen away.

    What is your problem with these numbers? Are you allergic to good news?


  6. Andrei says:

    What is your problem with these numbers? Are you allergic to good news?

    On the contrary. I yearn for good news.

    But I also value mathematical rigour when it comes to chucking numbers about.

    As the late Mr Ford said

    “There are lies
    Damn lies
    and Statistics

    And of course ignoring the fact that the cohorts are in fact smaller displays not only a lack of mathematical rigour but also reveals a deliberate attempt to mislead,


  7. TraceyS says:

    Andrei, one factor that helps explain the big drop in teenage mothers receiving benefits is that the teenage birth rate has also dropped:

    “Between 2006 and 2013, the most significant decline was in the two youngest ages, with a 39.7 per cent decline in the number of births for teens under 16, and a 34.2 per cent decline among 16 year olds.”

    The other teen age-groups have also declined.

    http://www.superu.govt.nz/sites/default/files/downloads/Teen%20Births%20Report.pdf (see Figure 3).

    While a drop in the population within each age-group will definitely explain some of the reduction, as you have pointed out, it pales in significance to the above fact.

    I don’t see how you could argue otherwise. But I’m willing to listen if you can.


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