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National Economic and Social Impact Survey | The Salvation Army

In 2015, The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory (AST)18 and Australia Eastern Territory (AET)19 conducted the fourth national ESIS survey. It highlights the impact of cost-of-living pressures on individuals and families who access emergency relief and community support through The Salvation Army’s services. 

The survey was designed to collect information about people seeking support and assistance and the levels of deprivation and exclusion, both economically and socially, experienced by these individuals. The questionnaire was refined from previous ESIS studies and this year included indicators of accommodation costs, housing stress, financial resources, disadvantage, social connectedness, and deprivation experienced by children.

Survey questionnaire

The survey questionnaire comprised of 
four parts: respondent basic information and demographics, income and employment, financial situation, and social supports and wellbeing.

Part One (Basic information) was a set of demographic questions asking people to describe their personal and family circumstances, living situations and housing status.

Part Two (Income and employment) was a set of questions asking respondents to identify their current income situation, financial expenses and resources, and actions to source work.

Part Three (Financial situation) was a set of questions asking individuals to rate their perceived current and future financial situation. Individuals were asked to respond to list of 20 items representing those services, items, activities or opportunities that are considered essential in Australia today according to the indicators of disadvantage developed by Saunders, Naidoo and Griffiths (2007).20,21 Participants were asked to indicate for each item whether or not they had the item. Another list of 18 items was specifically designed to capture information about essential items for children and were adapted from Saunders, Naidoo and Griffiths (2007) and UNICEF Child Deprivation Index.22 

Part Four (Social supports and wellbeing) was a set of statements requesting respondents to rate their level of agreement or disagreement against a seven and 10-point scale. The statements described how much support they received from other people and was based on the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey (Wave 11 Self Completion Questionnaire B17).23

Survey process

The survey questionnaires were distributed nationally through 262 Salvation Army emergency relief and community support services during the period 2nd February to 20th February 2015. The questionnaires were paper based and participation was voluntary. The questionnaire was provided to individuals to complete. Centre staff and volunteers were encouraged to assist people if they required it.

18. The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory (AST) includes Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
19. The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory (AET) includes New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
20. Saunders, P. Naidoo, Y. & Griffiths, M. (2007) Towards New Indicators of Disadvantage: Deprivation and Social Exclusion in Australia. Social Policy Research Centre, Sydney, NSW.
21. Saunders, P. (May, 2007). Towards New Indicators of Disadvantage Project. Bulletin No.2: Deprivation in Australia. PRC Newsletter No. 96.  Social Policy Research Centre, Sydney, NSW.
22. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. (2012). Measuring Child Deprivation: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries. UNICEF, Italy. 
23. The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute).