• social exclusion;
  • children;
  • disadvantage;
  • principal components analysis;
  • regional analysis


Multidimensional measures of disadvantage, such as social exclusion, are increasingly becoming an important focus of research into poverty and disadvantage. This paper describes the development of an Australian regional index of child social exclusion. Using data from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, we use principal components analysis to produce an aggregate measure of social exclusion risk for children aged 0–15, and for subgroups of children aged 0–4 and 5–15. Initial analysis of the indexes provides some tentative evidence of spatial patterns in the geographical distribution of child social exclusion, including a greater risk of child social exclusion in rural areas of Australia. This article outlines one of the first examples internationally of the construction of a small-area index of social exclusion specifically tailored towards children. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.