In a previous post, we talked about social disadvantage as a 'wicked problem' and made the point that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community experience life in a vastly different way to the least disadvantaged.  

We don't mean this post to be overly depressing or disempowering. We are aiming to give some insight and reasoning to why we think investing in the most disadvantaged populations is the right thing to do and contributes to both social and economic opportunity.

So, here we go. Strap yourselves in.

In Queensland, if you fall into the most disadvantaged population category (quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage) you are:

1) More likely to reproduce at a higher rate......

2) More likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby.......

3) More likely to smoke during pregnancy......

4) More likely to be developmentally delayed as a child.......

5) More likely to die as an infant.......

6) More likely to die as a child........

7) More likely to live in a single parent household........

8) More likely to be in a welfare-dependant family.......

9) Less likely to be participating in education at 16........

10) More likely to drop out of school at grade 10, or not attend school.........

11) Less likely to be earning or learning between 15 and 19...........

12) More likely to experience rental stress..........

13) More likely to be unemployed................

14) More likely to experience psychological distress...................

15) More likely to have poorer self-reported health..................

16) More likely to be obese..................

17) More likely to smoke.................

18) More likely to have diabetes................

19) More likely to have a profound or severe disability...............

20) More likely to die from an avoidable death...............

21) More likely to die from a preventable death..................

Ok, so maybe a little depressing? ........

Good news is that we probably already have the money in our system to ensure everyone has an equal footing in life and opportunities to thrive. Bad news is that it is tied up in hospitals, corrections, emergency services and other downstream services who are doing the best they can to meet the demand created by policy decisions and societal factors that restrict people from breaking the shackles of social disadvantage.

The questions we should be asking ourselves:

  • Can downstream money be repurposed toward upstream approaches focused on the foundations necessary to enable people to thrive?
  • Do we have to rely on government funding to make sustainable change or do other opportunities to capitalise exist??
  • What is the smallest investment and effort needed to get the best outcomes?
  • Where do we invest across the life course to ensure positive intergenerational progress?

*This data was compiled by the Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) and encompasses a range of data indicators by quintiles of disadvantage. More information on the specifics of this data can be found at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/phidu/maps-data/data/

About Beacon Strategies - we are a mission-based health and social services consultancy committed to supporting organisations to effectively plan, design, implement and evaluate their projects and services.

For more information about services that we can offer your organisation, head to http://www.beaconstrateiges.net or contact us directly on info@beaconstrategies.net.