29.03.2019

Research: Material deprivation and social exclusion among youth

In late 2018 the results of a study “Material deprivation and social exclusion among young Australians: a child focused approach” were published in The Conversation. The following words are (mostly) taken from that report.

As background: more than one million Australians live below the poverty line.

The project involved two stages: a series of focus groups with young people designed to identify the items they need to live a “normal kind of life”; and a survey that asked a large sample of young people whether or not they have those items. Those who do not have items they want are then identified as deprived.

Almost 2,700 students attending one of 52 NSW government high schools and 340 financially disadvantaged students participating in the Learning for Life program run by The Smith Family participated.

Findings indicate that most of these disadvantaged kids are missing out on items that lead to social exclusion - being the odd one out: the kid who’s wearing last year’s uniform, has got little or nothing for lunch, or can’t go on the school excursion or take music lessons after school.

The survey respondents identified 18 items seen as essential by a majority of those surveyed. These include: three meals a day, a computer or other mobile device, clothes needed for school, going on school trips and excursions, a regular meal out with family and an annual family holiday away, even if that means just a few nights in a rented caravan at a nearby beach.

The MSN scholarship programs ensure that students who might otherwise not have those essential items (uniforms, school excursions and computers) for their education can access them using their scholarship.

The Conversation article provides a link to the complete report.