Local Housing Characteristics Associated with Early Childhood Development Outcomes in Australian Disadvantaged Communities

Karen Villanueva, Hannah M Badland, Robert TANTON, Ilan Katz, Sally Brinkman, Ju-Lin Lee, Geoffrey Woolcock, Billie Giles-Corti, Sharon Goldfeld

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Abstract

Disadvantaged communities tend to have poorer early childhood development outcomes. Access to safe, secure, and stable housing is a well-known social determinant of health but there is a need to examine key features of neighbourhood housing that reduce early childhood development inequities. The 2012 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), a population-wide measure of early childhood development, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Socio-economic Index for Areas Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage were used to select fourteen disadvantaged local communities in five Australian states and territories based on those performing better (off-diagonal), or as expected (on-diagonal) on the AEDC relative to their socio-economic profile. Between 2015-2017, qualitative and quantitative housing data were collected in the local communities. In total, 87 interviews with stakeholders, 30 focus groups with local service providers and parents, and Australian Census dwelling information were analysed. A comparative case study approach was used to examine differences in housing characteristics (e.g., public housing, density, affordability, and tenure) between disadvantaged local communities performing 'better than expected' and 'as expected' on early childhood development. Perceived better housing affordability, objectively measured housing tenure (ownership) and perceived and objectively measured lower-density public housing were housing characteristics that emerged as points of difference for disadvantaged local communities where children had relatively better early childhood development outcomes. These characteristics are potential modifiable and policy sensitive housing levers for reducing early childhood development inequities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1719
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019

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