Sense of belonging


Theme: Cohesive
Dimension: Valuing diversity, belonging and culture


  • Proportion of First Nations people who recognise an area as their homelands or traditional country
  • The Social Cohesion Index: Sense of belonging measure1

Why does this matter

A sense of belonging, a feeling of being part of a larger group or connected to a broader community is an important determinant of wellbeing.2 The acceptance of diversity, the celebration of culture, and appreciation of custom, can support a sense of belonging.

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap recognises that these unique bonds are fundamental to improved life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Has there been progress

We can capture the extent to which First Nations people are sustaining this connection with country by tracking the proportion who recognise an area as their homelands.

In 2018-19, almost three quarters (74.3 per cent) of First Nations people recognised a traditional country — an increase from 69.9 per cent in 2002.

First Nations people living in remote areas are more likely to report a connection to country. In 2018-19, 90 per cent of First Nations people living in remote areas recognised an area as homeland or traditional county and 47 per cent live there.

The Mapping Social Cohesion survey has found a sense of belonging and pride in Australian culture of the general population has declined since 2007, from 100 points to 81 points in 2022.

1 Scanlon Foundation Research Institute The Social Cohesion Index.

2 Allen, Kelly-Ann (2019), Making Sense of Belonging, InPsych 41, no. 3.

Last updated