Capacity for freedom-a new way of measuring poverty amongst Australian children

Emily J. Callander*, Deborah J. Schofield, Rupendra N. Shrestha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A little over 200 000 children and youths in Australia between the ages of 5 and 19 years were in Freedom poverty in 2003-they had low family income, and either poor health or an insufficient level of education. These individuals are some of the most disadvantaged in society due to their multiple capability restrictions. Current political rhetoric focused on increasing the education opportunities of children and youth to maximise their labour force participation in the future and thus improve their living standards may offer a means of improving the lives of these most disadvantaged children. However, half of these children have poor health and this may act as a barrier to their future labour force participation. It is shown that when looking at the health, education and labour force status of adults, amongst those with and without a disability those with a higher education had a greater likelihood of participating in the labour force-indicating policies to promote education amongst children are justified. However, it was also shown that regardless of education attainment those with a disability still had lower labour force participation rates than those without a disability. As such, efforts to increase children's future labour force participation rates as a means of improving their living standards should also focus on improving childhood health, as well as education. Political promises to improve the lives of children should take a holistic view of the lives of individuals taking note in particular of how health may be restraining their quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-198
Number of pages20
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • capability
  • education
  • health
  • income
  • poverty


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