Around a fifth of people living in various parts of the Northern Rivers are living in poverty, including up to one in four children.
The latest research on poverty rates from the New South Wales Council of Social Services shows the official status of ‘economically disadvantaged’ is rife in the region.
People who are economically disadvantaged have less than half Australia’s median household disposable income, NCOSS says.
The organisation has made the information publicly available via an interactive map online.
Mullum, Bruns, Ocean Shores, Tweed Heads, Lismore and Tenterfield top Northern Rivers poverty list
The Mapping Economic Disadvantage in NSW report shows nearly 20% of residents in Mullumbimby, Goonengerry, Myocum and Main Arm – around 1,300 people – are officially living in poverty.
Similar figures are reported for Brunswick Heads, Ocean Shores and Tweed Heads.
Thirteen hundred people in the Brunswick Heads / Ocean Shores area are living in poverty, which is 18.5% of the population there.
Further north on Tweed Heads, 19% of the population is living in poverty and with more people living there, the figure reflects 3,200 individuals.
Around 17% of residents in Murwillumbah, north-west of Byron and Goonellabah, east of Lismore, is in poverty.
But the worst poverty rate is in the Lismore inner-city area, affecting 2,700 people, which is more than a fifth of all residents there.
The poorest people in the region are living in North Lismore, Lismore Heights, South Lismore, East Lismore and Girards Hill.
Out west, 1,100 people in the Tenterfield Shire are also affected and again, that’s nearly 20% of the population there.
Lowest rates of poverty on Lennox and Skennars Heads
Residents in the Bangalow and outer Lismore areas, including Rosebank, Clunes, Nimbin and Bentley seem to be faring better overall, with roughly 14% of residents in poverty.
Figures for Byron Bay and Ballina are slightly better again: just less than 14% of populations are economically disadvantaged.
Around a thousand people in the Byron Bay area, including Suffolk Park and Broken Head, and 2,000 in the Ballina area, are suffering poverty.
But Lennox Head and Skennars Head have the lowest rates of poverty in the region at less than ten per cent of the population, or around six hundred people.
Children and unemployed the poorest by far
Figures for children and unemployed people specifically are the worst and result in almost the whole region being flooded in red on the NCOSS map.
Red represents rates of poverty higher than 20%.
Nearly a third of all children in the inner-Lismore and Murwillumbah areas are in poverty and more than 1 in 4 children in Ballina, Brunswick Heads and Ocean Shores are in the same category.