Depth of social exclusion

We arrived at our composite measure of exclusion by giving weightings to each of the 30 indicators we used – such as low income, unemployment, poor English and poor physical health – to determine a combined score.

More than three-quarters of Australians score less than 1 (using the latest 2014 data). People scoring above a total of 1 on our scale are considered to be experiencing some level of exclusion.

People’s experiences of social exclusion can then be divided into three levels: marginal exclusion, deep exclusion and very deep exclusion.


Marginal social exclusion

People scoring 1–2 on our scale are considered to be experiencing marginal social exclusion.

In 2001, almost 23% of Australians were marginally excluded. This dropped to 21% in 2005, and 17% in 2008. The decrease was most likely to be due to solid economic growth in the decade up to 2008.

From 2008 there was a slight increase in marginal exclusion, with nearly 18% of Australians experiencing this level of exclusion in 2014. The effects of the global financial crisis on family income and employment are a likely explanation for this change.

Deep social exclusion

People scoring 2 or more on our scale are considered to be experiencing deep social exclusion.

In 2001, 7.5% of Australians were experiencing deep exclusion. By 2005 this had dropped to 5.9%, and by 2008 to 4.9%. In 2014 the level had increased to 5.5%. This means that more than one million Australians experience deep social exclusion.

Very deep social exclusion

People scoring 3 or more on our scale are considered to be experiencing very deep social exclusion.

In 2001, 1.4% of Australians were very deeply excluded. By 2005, this figure was down to 1.1%. In 2014 the figure remained at 1.2%, which means that more than 220,000 Australians experience very deep social exclusion each year.

Graph of levels of marginal and deep social exclusion, Australia, 2005 to 2014

To copy this graph for your own use, right-click on the image (or control-click on a Mac) and paste the graph into your document. Please credit 'The Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Melbourne Institute 2016'.

See data table for this graph and note on updated indicators


Read also in Measuring social exclusion:  Persistence of social exclusion » Social exclusion and poverty »


The social exclusion monitor is the work of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (MIAESR). This page was updated using analysis of Wave 14 of the HILDA Survey in October 2016.

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