Early death twice as likely for disadvantaged Australians
People living in low socioeconomic areas in Australian capital cities are almost twice as likely to die prematurely and almost five times more likely to be receiving unemployment benefits than people living in the most advantaged areas, according to new inequality statistics released today by the University of Adelaide.
The Inequality Graphs: Times Series, compiled by the University of Adelaide's Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU), demonstrates how the inequality gap (the difference between Australia's most advantaged and disadvantaged) has reduced or increased for various health and social outcomes.
The data is now freely available and Associate Professor John Glover, Director of PHIDU, believes the statistics will help inform government policy and the distribution of resources.
"The data provides an insight into the extent to which living in a disadvantaged area impacts on the health and wellbeing of Australians," says Associate Professor Glover.
"Overall, the data indicates that access to health services, education and employment is improving over time for both advantaged and disadvantaged Australians; however, for some health and social outcomes, the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged is widening.
"Deaths before 75 years of age have almost halved for the well-off but there has been far less improvement for people living in the most disadvantaged areas. The result is that there are now 80% more of these premature deaths in the most disadvantaged areas, up from 52% more than 25 years ago.
"This data resource is simple to use and includes national, state, regional and metropolitan statistics. It is vital for indicating where services should be directed," he says.
Associate Professor Glover says there is also a considerable gap between the unemployment rate and level of education between the rich and the poor.
"Approximately 75% of 16 year olds are in full time secondary education in the most disadvantaged areas compared to almost 90% in the most advantaged areas; some 9% of people in the most disadvantaged areas are receiving unemployment benefits, compared to 1.8% of those in advantaged areas; and almost 25% of people living in disadvantaged areas don't have access to the Internet at home, compared to 11% of the well-off," says Associate Professor Glover.
"Some basic needs like education and employment, along with things many of us take for granted, like the Internet, are much harder to come by for people living in the most disadvantaged parts of our capital cities," he says.
Further topics covered in the inequality data include fertility, Indigenous populations, housing, transport, income support, childcare, disabilities and chronic diseases.