In the face of an ongoing cost-of-living crisis, a new interactive report reveals locations experiencing hardship and financial vulnerability across Australia.
The Financial Resilience Barometer (FRB) uses Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census data, Australian Tax Office data and survey data to calculate an index score for over 2,000 localities in both metropolitan and rural/regional areas.
Created in a collaboration between Griffith University and the University of Newcastle’s Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), the FRB identifies Australian localities experiencing a lack of financial and economic resources.
Griffith Cities Research Institute Professor and co-creator Scott Baum said financial vulnerability is not only concentrated in disadvantaged communities but has become a feature of other places as well.
“It really is a case of a tale of two cities, with our largest metropolitan areas experiencing both extreme financial vulnerability and high levels of financial resilience,” Professor Baum said.
“Across capital cities, a patchwork of financial resilience and vulnerability is evident, with the outcomes in cities showing higher concentrations of both extremes.
“The mapping of results shows distinct clusters of inner-city financial resilience and outer-suburb clusters of financial vulnerability.
“In many cases, locations with high vulnerability are near those recording high resilience.
“The implications of concentrated financial vulnerability are important to take on board because the cost-of-living pressures are a real bread-and-butter issue for many individuals and the communities they live in.
“Challenges include household and community burdens associated with increasing localised financial hardship and an increase in a range of social problems seen in places that have been disadvantaged over a longer term.”
University of Newcastle Director of Centre of Full Employment and Equity Professor Bill Mitchell said just over half of the most financially vulnerable locations are also categorised as being extremely disadvantaged along other socio-economic outcomes.
“For these places, financial vulnerability adds another concerning dimension of disadvantage, which is likely to have widespread and long-lasting impacts,” Professor Mitchell said.
“The existence of extreme financial vulnerability in places not traditionally thought as highly disadvantaged illustrates just how widespread the issue is.”
The interactive FRB report is available online and includes full profiles for each region and a mapping tool.