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Social exclusion monitor

More than 900,000 Australians experience deep social exclusion

Social exclusion occurs when someone experiences multiple, overlapping problems, such as unemployment, poor health and inadequate education, which stop them fully participating in society. Tackling social exclusion helps make Australia a better place to live for everyone.

The social exclusion monitor is a new approach to measuring social exclusion in Australia. Developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (MIAESR), it uses the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey of 13,000 people. The monitor is updated with each new wave of the HILDA survey.

Last updated using the newest data from 2011, the monitor finds that more than one million Australians deal with deep social exclusion. This means that they experience at least four different sorts of disadvantage in their lives, such as being on a low income, having little work experience, not being involved in community clubs or associations and not being socially active.

You can use the monitor to better understand who is missing out in Australia and to gauge the effectiveness of government social policy.

Click on the photos to find out how different groups of people experience social exclusion.

Smiling woman with a pink flower in her hair, standing in a light room with colourful artwork on the wall. An elderly man is sitting in a chair in the backgroundOlder man with a thoughtful expression, wearing spectacles, a navy beanie, a blue T-shirt and an olive-coloured jacketWoman with brown and gold braided hair tied back sharing a laugh with her pre-school-aged daughter who also has dark, braided hair, bookcase full of books in the backgroundMiddle-aged woman in pink track top and glasses smiling with yellow texta in her handA middle-aged man standing with a walking stick behind his daughter sitting on a red motorised scooter in his lounge room, a television is in the foreground and the open front door is in the backgroundYoung man in jeans, a blue and white striped shirt and black beanie standing outside Fitzroy LibraryProgress Loans participant, Barbara, standing at her fridge with the freezer door open and the freezer full of foodYoung, smiling woman with short,dark, curly hair, wearing a black, grey and white leopard-print top, sitting in an ornate timber dining chair at a table with a mauve table cloth

Logo with blue jagged line motif and the text Melbourne Institute, The University of Melbourne alongside it

Logo with circle motif divided into four quarters, three grey and the top one orange, with a zig-zag top. The text Brotherhood of St Laurence, Working for an Australia free of poverty alongside

If you would like to be notified about updates to the social exclusion monitor, please subscribe to Brotherhood Update, the regular enewsletter from our Research and Policy Centre. 



Social exclusion monitor in the news

The latest findings were featured in an article by Ben Schneiders in the Sunday Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Dropping out: income tip of isolation slide and an accompanying story You've got to laugh to survive


Breaking the back of persistent disadvantage
12 July 2013
In her opinion piece in The Conversation, the Brotherhood's Eve Bodsworth argues that tackling the complex causes of deep disadvantage requires political leadership, serious investment and collaboration.

Using the social exclusion data

The social exclusion data produced by this project is a major source for the Productivity Commission working paper Deep and persistent disadvantage in Australia by Rosalie McLachlan, Geoff Gilfillan and Jenny Gordon, released on 11 July 2013

Social exclusion monitor bulletin

Social exclusion monitor bulletin October 2013 (PDF file, 497 KB)

Social exclusion monitor bulletin December 2012 (PDF file, 185 KB)

Social exclusion monitor bulletin April 2012 (PDF file, 177 KB)

The social exclusion monitor and policy

Michael Horn's essay, 'Measuring social exclusion: evidence for a new social policy agenda' appears in Staying power, the 11th State of the Family report , published by Anglicare Australia in 2011.

A personal story 

Margaret's and David's lives changed when a stroke left David disabled. Their social circle contracted and getting out became harder

Read their story


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