UC study highlights
A 10-year University of Canberra (UC) study of 866 marginalised Australians found that more than six out of 10 managed to exit deep, multi-faceted disadvantage, with significant improvements in nearly every aspect of their lives.
the poverty trap
Associate Dean of Research at UC’s Faculty of Health, Helen Berry said that although a large percentage of Australia’s most disadvantaged people find a way out, more than 40 percent of the group was still left behind in “sometimes appalling circumstances”.
The report Marginalisation in Australia: Characteristics and Predictors of Exit Over 10 Years 2001-2010 was launched to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week 2013
The team looked at the ways many hundreds of Australians are pushed to the fringes of society due to a range of factors that go beyond poverty, such as lack of education, social isolation, mental illness, unemployment and stigmatisation.
Using data from the Federal Government’s Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, they were able to establish who managed to exit marginalisation and who did not, how these groups differed in 2001 and what happened in their lives over the following decade.
“This is the first time such a comprehensive study covering a decade of marginalisation in Australia has been undertaken using national data,” Professor Berry said.
“Findings show that, over the decade, full-time paid employment, shifting from Government income support to self-support, being able to stay home until at least 18, not leaving school early and, in the case of women, not having further children, were pivotal factors to help people exit this form of extreme, complex disadvantage.”
However she said while obtaining a tertiary degree or a full-time job very strongly predicted exit from marginalisation, getting a lesser qualification or a part-time job did not.
“We also looked at factors that prevent people in these circumstances from escaping marginalisation,” she said.
“For example, in the case of women - who make up to 70 per cent of marginalised Australians - having one extra child can make the difference between making it out of deep disadvantage or remaining marginalised.”
The ACT Government Community Services Directorate contributed to the funding of the study.
Edition 383, 15 October 2013