Findings from the AEDC

Findings from the AEDC

Trends

  • The 2018 AEDC data show a significant decrease in the level of vulnerability on one or more domain(s) from 22 per cent (in 2012 and 2015) to 21.7 per cent.

  • Significant gains have been made in children’s communication skills and general knowledge with 8.2 per cent of children developmentally vulnerable on this domain. This is a decrease from 8.5 per cent in 2015 and 9.0 per cent in 2012.
  • The level of developmental vulnerability in the physical health and wellbeing domain has decreased from 9.7 per cent in 2015 to 9.6 per cent in 2018, however this still remains higher than 9.3 per cent in 2012.   

Findings from 2018

In the 2018 data collection, information was collected on almost 309,000 children in Australia representing over 96 per cent of children in their first year of full-time school. The key findings from the AEDC include:

  • Overall in Australia in 2018, 21.7 per cent of children were developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s).

  • In each domain measured, less than 10 per cent of children were developmentally vulnerable:

    • The communication skills and general knowledge domain has seen a continual decrease in the level of vulnerability since 2009 (9.2 per cent) to 8.2 per cent in 2018. The percentage of children on track in this domain has increased from 76.3 per cent in 2015 to 77.3 per cent in 2018, corresponding to approximately 3,000 more students across the country who are on track in these skills when they start school.
    • The level of vulnerability in the emotional maturity domain remained the same as 2015 at 8.4 per cent, however this still remains higher than in 2012 (7.6 per cent).

    • The physical health and wellbeing and social competence domains have fluctuated over the years. Both domains have remained relatively stable over the 2015 and 2018 data collections. The physical health and wellbeing domain decreased from 9.7 per cent in 2015 to 9.6 per cent in 2018, still higher than 9.3 per cent in 2012. The percentage of children on track in the physical health and wellbeing domain has increased from 77.3 per cent in 2015 to 78.1 per cent in 2018. The social competence domain saw a decrease in vulnerability from 9.9 per cent in 2015 to 9.8 per cent in 2018, however this remains higher than in 2012 (9.3 per cent). The percentage of children on track on the social competence domain has increased from 75.2 per cent in 2015 to 75.8 per cent in 2018.

    • The level of vulnerability in the language and cognitive skills domain has remained relatively stable over 2018 (6.6 per cent) and 2015 (6.5 per cent). However this is still lower than 8.9 per cent in 2009.

    • Consistent with previous years, more girls were developmentally on track. The data shows a decrease for both boys (27.9 per cent in 2018 and 28.5 per cent in 2015) and girls (15.3 per cent in 2018 compared to 15.5 per cent in 2015) vulnerable on one or more domain(s).
    • The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are ‘on track’, i.e. not considered developmentally vulnerable, has increased with 35.2 per cent on track on five domains in 2018, compared to 33.7 per cent in 2015 and 31.9 per cent in 2012.

    • Children across all areas of Australia are developing well, however where children live can have an impact on their development. Almost 21 per cent of children living in major cities were considered developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) compared to 45.5 per cent of children in very remote areas.

    • Socio-economic status can have an impact on a child’s development. Children living in the least socio-economically disadvantaged Australian communities were most likely to be on track on each of the AEDC domains.
      • Under 15 per cent of children living in the least socio-economically disadvantaged Australian communities were developmentally vulnerable on one or more of the AEDC domain(s), compared with 32.3 per cent of children in the most disadvantaged communities.
    • In 2018 there was a decrease, compared with 2015, in the percentage of children from least disadvantaged communities vulnerable on one or more domains (14.7 per cent in 2018 and 14.9 per cent in 2015), though this remained higher than in 2009 (13.8 per cent).
    • In the most disadvantaged communities the number of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains has consistently decreased since 2012 (32.3 per cent in 2018, 32.8 per cent in 2015 and 33.1 per cent in 2012), however remains slightly higher than in 2009 (32.2 per cent).