Publication Date



Wellbeing, Middle years, Children, Primary school students, Secondary school students, Child development, Disadvantaged, Questionnaires, Surveys, Measures (Individuals), Family characteristics, Child health, Friendship, Educational experience, Neighbourhoods, Material wellbeing, Life satisfaction, Socioeconomic influences, Disadvantaged environment, Poverty, Skills, Qualitative research, Quantitative research


The Australian Child Wellbeing Project was conducted by researchers at the Flinders University of South Australia, UNSW Australia (University of New South Wales), and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). It was funded by the Australian Research Council through a Linkage Grant (LP120100543), and supported by Partner Organisations: the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, the Australian Government Department of Social Services, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Compared with the early years and adolescence, young people in their middle years (ages 8-14 years) have received relatively little attention from policymakers other than in the space of academic achievement, where national curricula are being developed, and a national assessment program is in place. Yet there is growing recognition that this is a time when young people experience rapid physical and mental development, and face a transition from primary to secondary school.

The Australian Child Wellbeing Project (ACWP) included in-depth discussions with over 100 young people, and a national survey of over 5,400 in school years 4, 6 and 8, about their lives and wellbeing during this crucial period. In ACWP wellbeing was conceptualised very broadly in terms of what young people themselves think is important. In discussions, young people highlighted four domains in particular: family, health, friends, and school, as well as a number of issues that cut across these domains, such as bullying. Most of the items in the survey focused on these issues, as well as on other issues rated as less important but still significant – community and neighbourhood, and money.

The purpose of this report is to present a description of the project’s findings: its aims and methods, summary descriptive results and detailed analysis of a number of specific issues. The national survey was designed to compare the wellbeing of young people who are recognised as marginalised in the Australian context with that of non-marginalised young people. The report therefore includes analysis of wellbeing among young people in five marginalised groups – young people with disability, young carers, young people who are materially disadvantaged, culturally and linguistically diverse young people, and Indigenous young people; supplemented with more limited analysis of wellbeing among young people in rural and remote Australia, and young people in out of home care (because the number of survey participants in these groups was small).

The survey was also designed to allow comparison of certain aspects of young Australians’ wellbeing with that of young people in other countries, and this report includes some comparisons that provide new information on the wellbeing of young Australians

Place of Publication

Bedford Park SA; Sydney NSW; Melbourne Vic


Flinders University; University of New South Wales; Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)