Shocking impact of cost-of-living crisis

19 December 2023

Shocking impact of cost-of-living crisis

14 million Australians significantly impacted this Christmas, Salvation Army research finds

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal aims to raise $25 million to give those in need the Christmas they deserve.

For 14 million Australians (68%), how they celebrate Christmas will be significantly impacted this year due to the cost-of-living crisis. New research from The Salvation Army has also found more than 5.3 million people (26%) will not be able to afford a Christmas meal and 30% of parents are worried their children will go without presents.

The Salvos’ research, conducted by PureProfile, surveyed 2,005 people and found that more than half the population (57.1%) feels more stressed this Christmas compared to 31.6% last year, 71% are more mindful about how much they are spending this Christmas and almost one in seven parents are worried their children will go without a meal on Christmas Day.*

The research also found almost one in 10 Australians will rely on charitable support to get by this Christmas. Of those people, almost half (48.9%) will be reaching out for the first time.

“The Salvation Army sees heart-wrenching need each year and this year, the need continues to grow as people battle the cost-of-living crisis,” says The Salvation Army’s Major Brendan Nottle. “Behind every statistic presented here is a real person – many desperately struggling to get by and making painful decisions on what to go without just to survive. Never have we seen a time where the gap between the rich and poor has been so great.

“In this lucky country, too many are going without food, medication and utilities, and many more don’t even have housing. In lots of cases, this means there is no Christmas for those people doing it tough. And this is where we step in, providing food, presents, support with bills and safe housing. We don’t want any child to wake up on Christmas Day without a hot meal and a present.”

The Salvation Army’s research also found that this Christmas:

  • 57.7% of people will spend less on food.
  • 32.3% of people will have less people over on Christmas Day.
  • 47.4% of people will purchase less presents for children and loved ones.
  • 41.9% of people are unable to attend social events.

“These statistics clearly illustrate the continued and shocking impact that the cost of living is having on Australians around the country,” says Major Nottle. “They also show that over 1.8 million Australians (9%) will reach out to a charity for support this Christmas. The need has never been greater and we can only do what we do because of the phenomenally generous Australian public. It is our honour to come alongside people during their time of need, to provide practical support when it is needed most and to offer hope during the festive season and beyond.

“We don’t want anyone to feel like they are alone this Christmas. We encourage anyone who needs support to reach out; there is no shame in asking for help. If you are feeling lonely or isolated, struggling to make ends meet or in need of a hand this Christmas, the Salvos are here for you.”

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal is aiming to raise $25 million to fund its vital work across 400 centres and 2000 services around Australia. The Salvos cannot continue this important work without the generosity of the Australian public.

This Christmas the Salvos will**:

  • Distribute tens of thousands of food hampers to those struggling to make ends meet.
  • Hand out more than 250,000 gifts and toys for families who might otherwise have gone without.
  • Serve over 132,000 meals.
  • Provide more than 66,000 bed nights for families in need of accommodation during the festive season.

“The Salvation Army feels very privileged to be able to serve the needs of the Australian public,” says Major Nottle. “We get to see the joy, relief and comfort that the generosity of people’s giving has on the lives of those needing a hand. When you donate to the Salvos, it is the best return on investment you can get. You are bringing the true meaning of Christmas to people, not only by providing practical help but by acknowledging that there are people who care and there is hope for the future.”

This weekend for every free call made to Santa from a Telstra payphone, Telstra will donate $1 to the Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal (up to a pre-determined amount).

To ensure no one struggles alone this Christmas, please donate to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal by visiting or calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).

*PureProfile surveyed 2,005 people in a nationally representative sample size and this has been extrapolated to reflect the general Australian population. Extrapolated numbers are based on the estimated Australian population aged 18 and older; 20,716,533, based on ABS data as seen here.

**The Salvation Army, Christmas Data Summary Report, July/August 2023.

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