Social Inclusion Index provides a benchmark for all Australians

To support the December 2019 launch of Inclusive Australia (IA)** a powerful alliance of organisations wanting to see a more coordinated approach to inclusivity, BehaviourWorks has published the first-ever Social Inclusion Index.

Please note that the latest version of the Inclusive Australia Social Inclusion Index was released in May 2022. Find out more:
Six waves of the Social Inclusion Index: what have we found?

The Index captures a ‘big picture view’ of the progress that Australia is making on being more inclusive of minorities, providing a benchmark for IA and other organisations to monitor progress and evaluate initiatives designed to give more Australians a fair go (view the video below).

The challenge:
Measuring inclusiveness now and into the future
Inclusive Australia and Alliance partners

What did we do?

In order to look at the issue through a behavioural lens – discrimination being the behavioural expression of prejudice* – the researchers surveyed 6,000 Australians about their attitudes, experiences of discrimination and willingness to advocate for people from different racial minorities and religious minorities, LGBTI people, Indigenous Australians, women, people with disability, people on low incomes and the elderly.

What did we find?

The results show that, while Australians are not highly prejudiced, nearly one in four Australians have recently experienced a major form of discrimination. Further, many Australians have little or no contact with minority groups, which is associated with higher prejudice.

The index provides scores (out of 100) on nine key measures and explores major and everyday discrimination.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly one in four Australians have recently experienced a form of major discrimination, such as being denied a job.
  • People who have experienced discrimination experience 15% lower wellbeing.
  • Many Australians have little or no contact with certain minority groups – lack of contact is associated with higher prejudice.
  • Around 1/3 of Australians are willing to volunteer to help minority groups.
  • More than half of Australians are willing to stop discrimination when they see it, but many are not so keen on participating in political activities to ensure equality.

The data also shows that there are five distinct types of people when it comes to social inclusion. The researchers have segmented and quantified the size of these groups for the first time.

They include:

  • Allies – people willing to stand up for minority groups, (28%)
  • Affected Activists (12%)
  • Disillusioned and in need of support (16%)
  • Indifferent (26%) and;
  • Content with the status quo (18%).


“The purpose of the Index, which his publicly available, is to provide a snapshot of where we are now and give organisations the ability to evaluate their programs; evaluation being the key to success,” said BehaviourWorks Director, Professor Liam Smith, who sits on the IA Board.

“As a research organisation, we are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals and if we want to tackle social inclusion, it is vital that we give stakeholders the tools they need to make change happen.

“We will now update the Index annually to ensure that gains are being made. It is an exciting project to be involved in and we look forward to reporting again.”

**Inclusive Australia is a growing alliance of organisations and people who have come together to improve how Australians view and appreciate the differences in others.

*Hogg, M. A. & Vaughan, G. M. Social Psychology. (Pearson, 2011).

Nearly one in four Australians have recently experienced a form of major discrimination, such as being denied a job.

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