Mapping poverty in Victoria

Poverty hurts people and communities.

It undermines people’s mental and physical health, creates considerable stress for families and can hinder children’s emotional, physical and mental wellbeing and development.

Tragically, poverty is all too common in Victoria.

This analysis explores the extent and characteristics of poverty in Victoria.

In total, more than 800,000 Victorians live in significant economic disadvantage, including 216,000 children.

That’s 13.3% of all Victorians.

However, as our analysis reveals, not everyone is impacted evenly.

There are some groups of people and parts of Victoria where disadvantage is deep and worsening.

How to explore the data

There are three ways to explore the data and learn about poverty in Victoria.

You can

Key findings

As detailed and explained in our detailed analysis:

  • 800,000 people in Victoria are living in poverty.
  • Pandemic supports reveal poverty is a policy choice.
  • Child poverty remains significant and widespread.
  • Poverty across Melbourne has increased since 2016.
  • Poverty remains stubbornly high across regional and rural Victoria.
  • Victoria has deep pockets of severe place-based disadvantage.
  • More people over 65 are living in poverty – and it’s getting worse.
  • Housing costs are hurting both renters and mortgage holders.
  • Having a job makes you less likely to live in poverty but doesn’t protect you fully.

VCOSS CEO Emma King on ABC Radio

Top councils – by total number of people living in poverty 

Greater Geelong30,437
Greater Dandenong27,859

Top ten councils — by poverty rate

Central Goldfields*19.7%
Greater Dandenong18.34%
* These councils have an acute rate of poverty, but not huge raw numbers

VCOSS is the peak body for Victoria’s social and community sector, and the state’s premier social advocacy body.

We work towards a Victoria free from poverty and disadvantage, where every person and community experiences genuine wellbeing.

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VCOSS acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country, and we pay respect to Elders and Ancestors. Our business is conducted on sovereign, unceded Aboriginal land. The VCOSS offices are located on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung land in central Naarm.