Notes on the data: Education

Early school leavers who left school at Year 10 or below, or did not go to school, 2016

Policy context: Education increases opportunities for choice of occupation and for income and job security and equips people with the skills and ability to control many aspects of their lives – key factors that influence wellbeing throughout the life course. Young people completing Year 12 are more likely to make a successful initial transition to further education, training and work than early leavers. There is greater risk of poor transitions or mixed outcomes for those who have disabilities, lower levels of literacy or numeracy, or come from a family with a lower socioeconomic status [1]. Participation in schooling is also a major protective factor across a range of risk factors, including substance misuse, unemployment and homelessness.

At the 2016 Census, 30.4 persons per 100 population stated that they had left school at Year 10 or below, or did not go to school. This was lower than the rate of 34.3 per 100 population at the 2011 Census. The data are presented as an age-standardised rate, to adjust for the changing rates of educational opportunity and participation faced by subsequent generations of the population. For example, the proportions covered by this indicator increase with age, as follow: 25-34 (13.9%), 35-44 (17.9%), 45-54 (31.8%), 55-64 (40.1%), 65-74 (49.7%), 75-84 (55.0%) and 85 years and over (54.6%).

Note that the extent to which those who have left school at this age to enter the labour force is not accounted for in these data - see Learning or Earning at ages 15 to 19.


  1. Dale R. Early school leaving - lessons from research for policy makers. (Report on behalf of the Network of Experts in Social Sciences and Education (NESSE)). Paris, France: European Commission; 2010.

Notes: The numerator excludes the 8.8% of the population aged 15 years and over whose highest year of school was not stated: however, these records are included in the denominator.

Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area

Numerator: People who left school at Year 10 or below, or did not go to school

Denominator: Usual Resident Population aged 15 years and over

Detail of analysis: Indirectly age-standardised rate per 100 population; and/or indirectly age-standardised ratio, based on the Australian standard

Source: Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census of Population and Housing, August 2016.

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