Knowledge and Resource Hub
19 December 2018

Troubled kids? Locational disadvantage, opportunity structures and social exclusion

This research compared young Australians’ accounts of their opportunity structures – their engagement with enrichment activities, their post-school aspirations, and their knowledge of routes to achieve them – in two suburb types – improver suburbs (close to the median on many indicators) and isolate suburbs (severely disadvantaged on most indicators). While young people in improver suburbs felt able to access facilities and networks in equally, or more affluent neighbouring suburbs, young people in isolate suburbs felt excluded from neighbouring suburbs. They also experienced more restricted opportunity structures than young people living in improver suburbs, even those who were themselves economically disadvantaged. The authors argued that this geographical experience of exclusion prevents many economically disadvantaged young people from accumulating knowledge and skills valued in post-school settings.