‘Doing It Tough’ Queensland Older Women’s Experience of Poverty

During Anti Poverty Week Wesley Mission Brisbane, COTA Queensland and the independent research firm Urbis launched a report which examined older women’s experience of living in poverty and disadvantage across Queensland.  Drawing upon published research, discussions with stakeholders and conversations with older women in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas, this report provides  insights into the current and future experiences and needs of older women across Queensland, particularly, those who may be experiencing financial hardship, and/or at risk of disadvantage.

The overwhelming impression from undertaking this research was how reluctant women were to identify as living in poverty.

In 2016, the number of women over the age of 65 living in Queensland will be 376,785.  By 2036 it is projected that 739,067 women over the age of 65 will be living in Queensland.

Currently there are more than 39,544 women aged over 65 and over across Queensland ‘doing it tough’.

It is critical to look at the challenges Queensland is likely to experience over the next 20 years as the existing and emerging older women populations are increasingly single, renting and on low incomes. With a doubling of the population by 2036 assistance to support the quality of these women’s lives is essential.

Key Facts about Queensland Women Over 65

• 75.7% are widowed, divorced, separated or a lone person

• 2.2% are not proficient in spoke English;

• 1.0% identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander;

• 17.9% has a need for assistance with core activities

• 0.1% are unemployed and looking for work (full/part time)

• 6.7% have a Bachelor and above Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate Level

• 9.5% caring for children (other than their own)

• 10.6% provide unpaid disability assistance

• 18.5% volunteer

• 21.1% moved between 2006 and 2011

(ABS, Census of Population and Housing 2011)

Wesley Mission Brisbane will be continuing this conversation and will be hosting round table discussions in early 2016 with Urbis, COTA Queensland and interested parties.


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