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Comparing Disadvantage and Well-Being in Australian Families


  • Peter Saunders

    () (University of New South Wales)

  • Anna Zhu

    (University of New South Wales)


This paper compares the living standards of family types using a variety of indicators of disadvantage and examines the impact of disadvantage on several dimensions of well-being. The indicators are poverty (defined in income terms), deprivation (defined as an enforced lack of socially perceived necessities) and two dimensions of social exclusion (a lack of opportunity to participate, socially and economically). These indicators are compared across three family types: couples without children; couples with children; and sole parent families, and are then used to differentiate these families according to whether or not that are disadvantaged using each indicator. The subjective well-being of the families differentiated in this way is then compared using a variety of indicators, as a way of identifying the impact of disadvantage and of assessing the validity of the disadvantage indicators themselves. The results show that there are important differences between the extent and forms of disadvantage experienced, with sole parent families being most disadvantaged and experiencing the lowest levels of well-being on most of the indicators.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Saunders & Anna Zhu, 2009. "Comparing Disadvantage and Well-Being in Australian Families," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 12(1), pages 21-39, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:12:y:2009:i:1:p:21-39

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    More about this item


    Measurement and Analysis of Poverty Other Economic Systems; consumer Economics; Welfare and Poverty Economywide Country Studies;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • P46 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General


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