Experience of discrimination


Theme: Cohesive
Dimension: Valuing diversity, belonging and culture


Proportion of Australians who experienced some form of discrimination in the previous 12 months

Why does this matter

Experiences of discrimination can have wide-ranging negative effects on a person’s general wellbeing, physical and mental health.

Has there been progress

In 2020, 13.3 per cent of Australians experienced some form of discrimination in the past year, a decrease from 18.7 per cent in 2014.1

The 2022 Mapping Social Cohesion Report found that 16 per cent of people reported experiencing race or religion-based discrimination over the last 12 months. These findings suggest the experience of discrimination in 2020 may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.2

How does this differ across cohorts

People who described themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual were more likely to experience discrimination than heterosexual people — 30.1 per cent compared to 12.5 per cent.

One in five (20.8 per cent) people with a mental health condition reported having experienced some form of discrimination.

People with disability were also more likely to report having experienced discrimination compared to those with no disability — 15.8 per cent compared with 12.4 per cent.

16.1 per cent of people born overseas reported discrimination compared with 11.9 per cent of those born in Australia.

In 2022, Reconciliation Australia found that 60 per cent per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of racial prejudice in the past 6 months — 52 per cent in 2020, 43 per cent in 2018.3

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2020) General Social Survey, ABS website, accessed 14 July 2023.

2 Scanlon Foundation Research Institute (2022) Mapping Social Cohesion Survey 2022, Scanlon Institute website, accessed 5 July 2023.

3 Reconciliation Australia (2020) 2022 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, Reconciliation Australia website, accessed 6 July 2023.

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