More than a quarter of Kyogle, Tenterfield kids in poverty

KYOGLE and Tenterfield have some of the highest rates of child poverty in New South Wales with more than one in four youths living below the breadline, a new study has found.

The study found Kyogle had the second-highest rate of child poverty in the state, closely followed by Tenterfield.

NSW Council of Social Service researchers found 181,000, or 13.8% children under the age of 15 in the state were experiencing poverty - a rate higher than any other mainland state.

NCOSS chief Tracy Howe said indigenous children were greatly over-represented in the figures.

THE FIGURES: A snapshot of life below the poverty line in NSW

See the full NCOSS Cost of Living Report

"Country towns like Brewarrina (31.8%), Kyogle (28.2%), and Tenterfield (27.9%), and suburbs like Auburn (26.1%) and Canterbury (25.6%) - among others - have child poverty rates that far exceed the statewide average," she said.

"And we know that here in NSW, we can act to break the cycle of disadvantage and ensure that the one in seven children who are experiencing poverty have the best chance in life."

Researchers surveyed low to middle income families across the state to gain a picture of how many were struggling to make ends meet.

NCOSS deputy CEO John Mikelsons said disproportionately rising bills meant many families had to sacrifice basic essentials to get by.

"Over the past 10 years, basic household expenses like electricity have more than doubled, while rents in Sydney have gone up a whopping 60%," he said.

"To meet these costs, many parents are forced to cut back or delay paying for other essentials like going to the dentist, getting a haircut or buying new clothes.

"And during these school holidays, many parents simply can't afford to take their kids on a trip away or for a fun day out."

Mr Mikelsons added a number of issues uniquely affected families living in rural and regional NSW.

"In many instances, regional families face more difficult cost of living pressures," he said.

"For example, electricity bills are significantly higher in most parts of rural NSW.

"Our survey also revealed that regional families on low to middle incomes are more likely to report concern about meeting the costs of the internet."

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