Social exclusion and inclusion has been given a great deal of attention in Australia of late. This latest social phenomenon has replaced much of the social discourse around poverty and inequality, with the realisation from researchers, practitioners and policy makers, that disadvantage is often a multi-dimensional occurrence, spanning many dimensions of an individual’s life.
To be socially excluded will often mean different things to different individuals. For Australian youth, to be socially excluded is likely to weigh more heavily on peer interaction and accessibility and those factors which may inhibit participation, such as poor physical and mental health, geographic isolation, youth unemployment, school retention, teen pregnancies and drug and alcohol use.
This paper provides a review of the literature related to the theoretical frameworks and measurement issues that surround youth social exclusion and presents initial work undertaken to construct a comprehensive youth social exclusion index that spans Australia’s geographic regions. The work is a major component of an ARC Discovery Grant. A review of available and appropriate data is discussed, along with methodologies for bringing together a composite index, which will enable new knowledge about the differences in life chances of young Australians.

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