In its broadest sense, welfare refers to the wellbeing of individuals, families and the community. Some people understand it to mean wellbeing; others see it primarily as government-funded income support payments and welfare services. Certainly, support and services in many areas of life do aid welfare and are critical to the wellbeing of an individual and their family.

A person’s wellbeing can be influenced by environmental, social and economic factors at the individual, family and community level. The level and type of supports a person may need will depend on their life stage, level of disadvantage, health and disability status, social and economic participation, access to suitable housing, and their informal support networks – and the complex interrelationships between these factors.

The Australia’s welfare 2023: data insights report contains 9 original articles on selected welfare topics and their information environments. Each article highlights the crucial role of high-quality data, both in telling the story of Australia’s welfare and in changing that story for the better.

PDF chapter summaries

Chapter 1 - The future of data 

This chapter explores the data environment in Australia. It discusses the importance of comprehensive and high-quality data; government service systems and data linkage; and AIHW’s role in creating and reporting on evidence.

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Chapter 2 - Social isolation, loneliness and wellbeing

This chapter discusses the different measures of social isolation, loneliness, and wellbeing. It also examines how Australians’ experience of these issues has changed over time, with a particular focus on changes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Chapter 3 - Employment and income support following the COVID-19 pandemic

This chapter examines how employment and income support in Australia has fared following the initial impacts of COVID-19 (that is, post-2020), focusing on the 3 years to March 2023.

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Chapter 4 - Homelessness and housing affordability in Australia

This chapter describes homelessness and housing affordability in Australia. In doing so it, presents insights into people experiencing homelessness such as the reasons they seek support, repeat homelessness, and risk factors associated with people receiving long-term support. It also examines housing pathways out of homelessness and government housing-related support.

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Chapter 5 - Use of mainstream services and outcomes achieved for people with disability

This chapter draws on analysis and results from the National Disability Data Asset pilot phase, which used data that describe the use of mainstream services and outcomes achieved for people with disability.

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Chapter 6 – Children who have experienced child protection, youth justice and homelessness

This chapter explores the experiences of children who have been in the child protection system and their interactions with youth justice supervision or homelessness services.

It presents information on people under youth justice supervision during 2020–21 who had also been involved in the child protection system in the 5 years from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2021.

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Chapter 7 - Relative influence of different markers of socio-economic status on university participation

This chapter analyses the relative influence of different markers of socioeconomic status on university participation captured at the age of 19. It presents empirical analysis using data drawn from the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project.

The chapter is authored by Dr Tomasz Zając and Associate Professor Wojtek Tomaszewski and has been contributed by the Life Course Centre.

Download chapter 7 [PDF 335 kB]

Chapter 8 - Measuring quality in aged care: what is known now and what data are coming

This chapter examines what is meant by quality in aged care, and how is quality of care currently measured. It explores what currently available data show about the quality of aged care services in Australia. It also discusses what gaps remain, and what new initiatives are being implemented or planned in the aged care data system to strengthen

Download chapter 8 [PDF 1.2 MB]

Chapter 9 - Welfare workforce: demand and supply

This chapter explores the workforce that provides welfare-related services and support to people in child-care facilities, people with disability and people who need assistance due to ageing. It presents information about the factors underpinning the demand and supply of this workforce and describes the data environment and current challenges.

Download chapter 9 [PDF 1.6 MB]

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