Dropping off the Edge 2021

This recently released report is the fifth in a series (published over more than 20 years) and builds a picture of how disadvantage is concentrated across communities in Australia through measurements across 37 indicators, including housing suitability (overcrowding).

For the first time, this year’s report also includes social housing as an indicator.


A key focus of the report is to highlight the place-based nature of disadvantage through consideration of how disadvantage is concentrated in a small number of locations, and how different forms of disadvantage overlap to limit life opportunities. The report found that in Western Australia, 10 per cent of locations account for 56 per cent of the most disadvantage and 2 per cent of locations account for 22 per cent of the most disadvantage.

Western Australia

In general, greater disadvantage is experienced in regional and remote areas.

In WA only one of the top 10 most disadvantaged locations was in Perth. The main indicator contributing to disadvantage was youth not in employment, education or training. In most other states, low-income was the main contributor. The report also considers persistent disadvantage, comparing 2015 and 2021 indicators. Most locations in WA do not have persistent disadvantage, however, a total of 20 locations had at least one indicator in the most disadvantaged 5 per cent in both reports, and three locations showed persistent disadvantage on five or more (Derby, Halls Creek and Leinster-Leonora).


For the first time, the 2021 report includes focus groups and interviews in eight communities in six different states and territories, including one in WA (Narrogin). The qualitative case study in Narrogin highlighted the complexity and contextuality of disadvantage and its lived experience.


Tanton, R., Dare, L., Miranti, R., Vidyattama, Y., Yule, A. and McCabe, M.

View the report here.