Sign Language Users’ Education and Employment Levels: Keeping Pace with Changes in the General Australian Population?
This article draws on data from the 2006 Australian census to explore the education and employment outcomes of sign languages users living in Victoria, Australia, and to compare them with outcomes reported in the general population. Census data have the advantage of sampling the entire population on the one night, avoiding problems of population comparability and sampling errors that may affect survey-based research. The analysis shows that sign language users are approaching parity with the general population on some measures of educational attainment, but there remains a gap in employment levels and particularly income. Sign language users aged 25–44 years show higher attainment than those in the 45–64 age group, suggesting that educational reforms in the last 30 years are having a positive impact on both education and employment levels. However, younger sign language users are still struggling to keep pace with improvements in certain employment outcomes that are seen in the general population.