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The Inclusive Australia Social Inclusion Index provides a unique overview of social inclusion in Australia by covering a wider array of social inclusion issues in one index – including the attitudes to and experiences of racial minorities, religious minorities, LGBTI people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, women, people with disability, people on low incomes, young people and older people.

It seeks to provide a ‘big picture’ view and captures several important measures (e.g. prejudicial attitudes, experiences of discrimination, willingness to advocate for inclusion) that have not been included together in existing studies. The index is constructed using data from approximately 6000 survey responses collected from people across Australia.

The demographic profile of the sample broadly reflects the demographic profile (e.g. age, gender, state) of the broader Australian population. It also includes boosted samples of several minority groups, including racial and religious minorities, LGBTI people, people with disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to better capture their experiences. Moreover, where possible, the survey questions come from scientifically-validated scales.

Key findings:

Social inclusion in Australia still has room for improvement

  • The Inclusive Australia Social Inclusion Index score was 62 out of 100 at the end of 2018. It has remained generally stable since the first wave of data collection in May 2017.

Nearly one in four Australians has recently experienced a form of major discrimination 

  • At the end of 2018, one in four of Australians reported having experienced a major form of discrimination, such as being unfairly denied a job or unfairly discouraged from continuing education, within the last 2 years.

Experiencing discrimination is associated with lower wellbeing

  • People who have experienced major discrimination report significantly lower personal wellbeing (15% lower) and identification with Australia (7% lower) than those who have not experienced such discrimination.

Most Australians are not highly prejudiced, but a sizeable minority are

  • The highest levels of prejudice are directed towards religious and racial minorities. 27% of Australians express high average levels of prejudice against these groups. Although prejudicial attitudes against women, people with disability and older people are lower on average, they are still present and problematic.

Many Australians have little to no contact with certain minority groups and lack of contact is associated with higher prejudice.

  • Thirty nine percent of Australians say they either ‘never’ or ‘less than once per year’ have contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or people from religious minorities. Additionally, results show that the more contact a person has with minority groups, the lower their prejudice tends to be.
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