Childhood development


Theme: Prosperous
Dimension: Access to education, skills development and learning throughout life


Proportion of children who are developmentally on track in all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census

Why does this matter

Early childhood development sets the stage for future health, wellbeing and prosperity.

The 2021 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) indicated that the majority of Australian children were ‘on track’ in all five domains of physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication skills and general knowledge.

Has there been progress

In 2021, there was a slight decline in this figure for the first time since 2009 – from 55.4 per cent in 2018 to 54.8 per cent. This was most likely due to the impact of COVID-19-related disruptions on early childhood development.1

This decline was more pronounced for groups already experiencing disadvantage, revealing how experiences of entrenched disadvantage may have been exacerbated or compounded by COVID-19 disruptions.

1 Australian Early Development Census National Report (2021) AEDC 2021 National Report, pdf

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