Housing and social inclusion: a household and local area analysis

Housing Social isolation Housing Australia
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This is the final report of a project that investigated the housing experiences of social excluded households in different types of local areas.


Social exclusion is measured across a range of life domains, such as access to material resources, employment, education, social participation and community attachment such as volunteering. ‘Marginal’ and ‘deep’ forms of social exclusion are found to be distributed across all housing tenures. High proportions of households resident in public housing are socially excluded households (80%), followed by outright owners (41%); private rental (39%), and purchaser owner households (16%).

The experience of social exclusion for purchaser owners and private renters is significantly linked to issues of housing affordability and ongoing housing stress. On the other hand, outright owners and purchase owners tend to be more satisfied with their house. For private and public renters, issues of dissatisfaction with housing are related to social exclusion experiences, suggesting significant housing trade-offs may be being made by these households.

Socially excluded households (‘marginally’ and ‘deeply’ excluded households combined) are widely distributed across local areas, including those characterised by high and lower levels of relative disadvantage. Around 50 per cent of socially excluded households in the HILDA survey data reside within the bottom third of disadvantaged areas using the ABS Index of Disadvantage, with a further half living in more affluent, less disadvantaged areas.

Metropolitan areas appear to offer socially excluded households greater capacity to live outside areas characterised by highest levels of disadvantage while regional areas provide opportunity for socially excluded households to escape from issues of housing affordability.

This study suggests that in addition to focusing on local areas characterised by entrenched, concentrated disadvantage, joined-up policy responses to disadvantage also need to address issues of geographically dispersed social exclusion. There is a need for both household-based and place-based initiatives to support socially excluded households and to enhance the living environments in which many live.

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