In addition to the national survey, additional surveys were conducted in 2013. First, a series of locality based surveys: in areas of high immigrant concentration (in Brisbane and Perth); in regional centres impacted by immigration (Shepparton and Murray Bridge); and in a region with little experience of recent immigration (Atherton Tableland in Queensland). The local area surveys were completed by 2,500 respondents. Second, an online survey of recent immigrant arrivals was completed by over 2,300 respondents.
What then is the state of social cohesion in 2013? The Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion (SMI) provides an overview in the five core domains of social cohesion: belonging, worth, social justice, participation, and acceptance and rejection.
The 2013 SMI registered the second largest change since the 2007 benchmark survey and was at the lowest level recorded. Between 2009-10 the index fell by 8.6 points, it then stabilised in 2011 and 2012 with marginal upward movement – and fell by 5.9 points between 2012-13.
The 2013 SMI registered lower scores in four of the five domains of social cohesion. The largest variation is in the domain of political participation, which fell by 15.8 points. The domain of acceptance/rejection fell by 9.8 points, in large part reflecting increased reported experience of discrimination. The domains of belonging and worth, which had recorded little change between 2009 and 2012, fell by 4.1 and 2.7 points respectively. The one domain to record an increase, that of social justice and equity, increased by 2.9 points. All five domains of social cohesion are below the 2007 benchmark level. The low point is in the domain of acceptance/rejection, which stood at 68.8 points in 2013, down by almost one-third since 2007.
Watch a summary of the 2013 results of the Mapping Australian Social Cohesion report. This video also defines the Scanlon-Monash index that’s used to measure Australia’s social cohesion.
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Feature Mapping social cohesion report