Measuring Social Isolation in Greater Western Sydney

Measuring Social Isolation in Greater Western Sydney

The aim of this paper by Westir is to explore twelve demographic indicators that may not directly measure social isolation and loneliness, but indicate an increased risk of social isolation and loneliness in the local community. The demographic indicators will be presented for Greater Western Sydney (GWS).

Social isolation and loneliness are growing issue sin Australia. Social isolation has been defined as a state of having minimal contact with others. It is different from loneliness, which is a personal and subjective state of having a lower level of social contact than desired. Social isolation differs from social exclusion, however, socially excluded or minority groups can have an increased risk of loneliness wherever there are elements in society that exclude people based on age, disability, race, gender and sexual orientation.

Social isolation and loneliness have been linked to a range of poor physical and mental health outcomes, and while there are no current estimates, the economic cost of loneliness in Australia is likely to be substantial. A recent report did, however, find that if social inclusion was better harnessed, it could amount to a $12.7 billion annual boost to the Australian economy.

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