Index of Wellbeing of Older Australians (IWOA)

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This work has identified a number of indicators of wellbeing for older people, and then brought these together into an index, applying data collected at the Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2), medium-sized areas of population, each representing a community that interacts together socially and economically.
This Index shows that older people experiencing both the lowest and the highest levels of wellbeing mainly live in urban areas. This reflects the diversity of wellbeing that exists in our cities. More specifically, older people with the highest levels of wellbeing live in urban and rural NSW and Victoria, while mid to low levels of wellbeing are especially found in remote areas of NSW and Queensland. To explain this further, the Index shows clusters of low wellbeing in the capital cities, whereas low wellbeing in regional areas is not clustered – it is interspersed with populations of moderate and high wellbeing. This is possibly due to there being a greater diversity of older people in regional areas, so any low wellbeing can be averaged out by high wellbeing when looking at larger areas. Whereas, the area of analysis used in this research (SA2 level) usually corresponds to suburbs in cities, where families and communities with similar socio-economic status will live. Another important finding in the 2016 Index is that the factor contributing most to older person wellbeing when calculating the Index, is the need for functional assistance. This suggests that access to assistance services is becoming an increasingly important part of wellbeing for older people, alongside and closely connected to other factors such as housing affordability and appropriateness. This has implications for Government provision and location of services, including the pressing need for additional Home Care Packages (at the appropriate level) for the growing cohort of older people needing assistance to remain at home. Those familiar with the previous Index which relied on 2011 data will note that housing related factors were weighted most highly when calculating the final Index. These factors continue to contribute highly to the 2016 Index. Not too much can be read into the change in ranking of actors, as some of the indicators have been altered from the 2011 to the 2016 Index and the ranking of each indicator is relative to the other indicators, so the two are not directly comparable. Nonetheless, the rising importance of the need for functional assistance as a key factor in older age wellbeing is significant for policy and program delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherBenevolent Society
Commissioning bodyThe Benevolent Society
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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