Australia’s welfare snapshots present key facts on housing, education and skills, employment and work, income and finance: government payments, social support, and justice and safety.

Welfare and wellbeing are often used interchangeably. Many different supports and services—beyond income support and welfare services—are critical to the wellbeing of individuals and their families. The Australian Government and jurisdictions contribute to welfare spending, and a wide range of community services are provided through public and private organisations.

Access to safe, affordable and suitable housing is essential to the wellbeing of people and families and can help enhance equal opportunity and protect from homelessness risk. Those unable to access appropriate housing with their own social and economic resources may need the support of housing assistance, while others experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness may be supported by government funded services.

Participation and engagement in education from an early age are essential for a person’s development and future outcomes. Higher levels of education are associated with better employment opportunities, higher relative earnings, better health and greater life satisfaction, and skills learned in early childhood years help establish foundations for academic and life success.

Having a job helps people support themselves, their families and communities, and employment is tied to physical and mental health. Patterns of employment change over time, and people have different experiences of employment. Some people may have difficulty finding work or developing skills to improve employability, and may receive help from government employment services.

Government payments support those who may not be able to fully support themselves or would benefit from financial assistance at certain life stages—such as people unable to work or find work, or people who would benefit from support with the cost of raising children.

Social support from other people and services can be vital in times of need. It can be formal—usually services and programs, like disability services and aged care—or informal care from family, friends or the community. Social support can also contribute to connectedness though interactions between people.

A person’s wellbeing can be affected by their experience of crime, and people who have had contact with the justice system may experience negative effects on their health and welfare. Governments work to protect the safety of the community and those at greater risk of harm, for example services designed to protect children from harm.

Many factors contribute to the welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Welfare is closely linked to health and is influenced by social determinants such as education, employment, housing, access to services, and community safety. Contextual and historical factors are particularly important for understanding the welfare of Indigenous Australians.


For the latest version of the snapshots, including interactive content, use the links above. The following is a point-in-time compilation of the Australia’s welfare snapshots (web pages):

Australia’s welfare snapshots 2019 (PDF 6.2MB, 11 September 2019)