Social determinants of health

The social determinants of health in Australia refer to the various social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health and well-being outcomes for individuals and communities. These determinants include factors such as income, education, employment, housing, and access to health services [1]. In Australia, Indigenous communities, rural and remote populations, and low-income groups are particularly vulnerable to health inequities due to the impact of these social determinants [2]. Addressing these social determinants is crucial for promoting health equity and improving overall health outcomes in Australia.

In Australia, education is available for all boys and men, regardless of their background. However, different types of schools within the education system, such as public, private, and vocational, are also influenced by the social determinants of health. There are several challenges faced by men in the education system in Australia, as noted by various studies and reports. For example, underachievement among boys and young men has been documented. This can be due to a range of factors, such as disengagement from education, negative stereotypes and gender bias, and mental health issues [3]. In addition, some men may face barriers to accessing higher education, including financial constraints, lack of support, and limited opportunities in certain regions or communities [4]. To address these challenges, various initiatives have been implemented in the education system in Australia, which aim to support boys and men in their education and to promote gender equality in the education system.

When transitioning from education to employment, boys and men in Australia can unfortunately still be faced with a multitude of work-related issues. Firstly, men have a higher rate of unemployment compared to women, particularly in industries such as manufacturing and construction [5]. Secondly, some men are underemployed, meaning they are employed in jobs that are below their skill level or do not provide enough hours of work [5]. Thirdly, men are more likely to work in hazardous industries and suffer workplace injuries or fatalities [6].

Additionally, men are less likely to seek help for mental health issues, and workplace stress can contribute to poor mental health [7]. Despite progress towards gender pay equality, men still earn more on average than women in Australia [5]. The traditional expectations for men to be breadwinners can also make it difficult for them to balance work and family responsibilities [8].

Food security is another issue within the social determinants of health that widely affects Australian men. According to the Foodbank Hunger Report [9], approximately 4 million Australians experienced food insecurity between 2019-20. This report also highlights that certain populations, such as single-parent households and Indigenous communities, experience higher rates of food insecurity.

As well as food security, housing is a prevalent issue facing Australian men, particularly those from low-SES, marginalised or culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. According to recent studies, men in Australia face a number of challenges when it comes to housing. One such challenge is affordability [10]. Despite having a relatively high median income, the cost of housing in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne has risen significantly in recent years, making it increasingly difficult for men to find affordable places to live [11].

Homelessness is also a significant issue in Australia, and men are overrepresented among the homeless population [12]. This can be due to a variety of factors, including job loss, relationship breakdown, and mental health issues [13]. Additionally, some men may face discrimination when seeking housing due to factors such as race, sexuality, or other personal characteristics [14]. This can further exacerbate existing housing challenges and make it even more difficult for men to secure stable and safe housing.

For more information on the social determinants of health for men and boys, please visit the following websites:

Research and reports relating to the social determinants of health for men and boys can be found below:


1.World Health Organisation. Social determinents of health 2023; Available from:

2.Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Social determinants of health. 2022, AIHW: Canberra.

3.Doll, C.M., et al., The important role of stereotypes in the relation between mental health literacy and stigmatization of depression and psychosis in the community. Community mental health journal, 2022. 58(3): p. 474-486.

4.Pires, C.M. and L.A. Chapin, Barriers, support, and resilience of prospective first‐in‐family university students: Australian high school educators' perspective. Journal of Community Psychology, 2022. 50(7): p. 3221-3236.

5.Australian Bureau of Statistics. Average weekly earnings, australia 2023; Available from:

6.Work Safe Victoria. Reducing workplace harm. Improving outcomes for injured workers. . 2023; Available from:

7.Beyond Blue. We’re here for you 2022; Available from:

8.Australian Institute of Family Studies. Work and family 2023; Available from:

9.Foodbank Australia, Foodbank hunger report Australia 2020. 2020.

10.Australian Bureau of Statistics. Housing occupancy and costs 2022; Available from:,without%20a%20mortgage%20(%2454).

11.Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Latest research 2021; Available from:

12.Department of Social Services. Homelessness. 2020; Available from:

13.Mission Australia. Homelessness in Australia statistics 2021; Available from:

14.Australian Human Rights Comission, 2019-2020 Complaint Statistics 2020.