More than a million Australians still experience deep social exclusion, according to the latest data.

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 an 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 more than 13,000 people. The monitor is updated with each new wave of the HILDA survey.

Our measure combines results collected about an individual's circumstances based on 30 different components of disadvantage, called indicators. For example, a person may have a low income, poor health and little connection with their community, which all compound to restrict their opportunities.

Update November 2019

Using the newest data from 2017, the monitor finds that more than 1.1 million Australians deal with deep social exclusion, in a nation that has seen more than two decades of overall economic prosperity.

This means that these Australians experience at least four different sorts of disadvantage in their lives, such as being on a low income, having little paid work, 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.

Postscript 2020

Please note that the Wave 17 HILDA survey data was collected and analysed before the COVID-19 crisis. However, the groups of Australians who were already excluded are likely to be the hardest hit by the economic and social impact of the pandemic and the public health responses.

Who experiences social exclusion?

Read an overview of who experiences social exclusion .

Click an icon below to read about specific groups.

How do we measure social exclusion?

About the research method

To understand more about about how the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and the Melbourne Institute measure exclusion see:

Read past issues of the occasional Social exclusion monitor bulletin (2011–2015)

Why does social exclusion matter?

Read about the implications for policy