Australian children from disadvantaged backgrounds have worse health, as measured by a wide range of indicators including perinatal outcome, infant mortality, child mortality, illness and accident rates, and health service use. These differentials are apparent whether socioeconomic disadvantage is measured based on parental income, education, employment status, marital status or socioeconomic disadvantage of area.

This report is the third in a series of four reports which systematically document health differentials in Australia using national population health and mortality data for the late 1980s. The first and second reports, entitled Health differentials among adult Australians aged 25-64 years and Health differentials among older Australians, were published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 1994.