Intergenerational Holistic Equity Index: Mapping Intergenerational Inequality in Australia

By Stephanie Thomson

Stephanie attended the 2015 United Nations Economic and Social Council Youth Forum in New York.


Intergenerational inequality threatens the sustainability of Australia’s welfare system and the prosperity of future generations. This report sets out the findings of Australia’s first comprehensive measure of intergenerational inequality: the Intergenerational Holistic Equity Index (‘IHE Index’).  The index is the result of collaboration between the author and the Intergenerational Foundation, an independent UK charity that pioneered the index methodology in this field.  It has long been assumed that future generations will live better lives than their predecessors.  This report illuminates trends in Australian data over the last 15 years that challenge such assumptions.  Significantly, the IHE Index reveals that overall outcomes for youth and future generations have worsened 13% since the year 2000, driven by both economic and environmental factors. Economic outcomes alone have declined significantly, down 34% since 2000. Environmental factors also indicate deterioration in outcomes for future generations, worsening 8% over the past 15 years.  Individual and societal wellbeing is the only component seen to improve, rising 3%.  If these trends continue into the next 35 years, this report argues that the future of Australia’s tax and transfer system is under threat, with overall lifestyle outcomes predicted to worsen by 70%.

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