Social inclusion as a tool to improve rural health Academic Article uri icon


  • Health inequalities between metropolitan and rural areas persist despite a range of interventions over recent years. Social inclusion is often linked to health outcomes, yet few studies examine social inclusion across different geographic areas. In this study, a set of indicators of social inclusion were drawn together and sourced data were aligned to these indicators, which are readily available to primary health practitioners and population health planners. Through this process, a useful framework that provides a nuanced understanding to guide primary health policy and practice has been produced. Using Victoria as an example, 11 domains of social inclusion were explored using population data across 79 local government areas. Analysis highlighted significant differences in several indicators, with rural and regional local government areas ranking higher on measures of social participation, trust and social resources. The use of a diversity of data sources provided information on the social, economic, and education issues of an area, along with relational factors such as safety, trust, community resources and civic participation. A social inclusion lens can inform action to address the rural–urban primary health divide by determining and exploring the social inclusion characteristics of communities.

publication date

  • 2019