Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics. Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2016. Catalogue number 2033.0.55.001. ABS, 2018. SAPHaRI, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.
Australian scores are the reference point and are set to 1,000 for each index. Scores for local government areas are population-weighted means of the scores of their constituent census collector districts.
Local Government Area boundaries used were defined in 2016.
The map shows the scores for Socio-economic Indexes For Areas (SEIFA) for each local government area (LGA) in NSW, as calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on the basis of Census 2016 information. The scores are relative to the score of 1,000 set for the whole Australia. Lower scores indicate lower average socioeconomic status of residents of an area.
LGAs have been divided into 10 groups (deciles) based on ranked SEIFA scores and each group is represented on a map by a different colour.
There are four SEIFA indexes and each can be visualised on the map above by changing the option in the "Filter By". Each index is a summary of a different subset of Census variables and focuses on a different aspect of socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. See Methods for more information. The indexes can be used for a number of different purposes, including targeting areas for business and services, strategic planning and social and economic research.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has produced measures of socioeconomic disadvantage since the 1971 Census. The Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) were first produced in 1990 and consisted of five indexes formed from the 1986 Census data (ABS).
There are four SEIFA indexes currently produced. In each census year, the ABS assigns index SEIFA scores to non-overlapping geographical areas covering all Australia calculated from the various socioeconomic characteristics from the Census of the people living in areas.
Each index is a summary of a different subset of Census variables and focuses on a different aspect of socioeconomic advantage and disadvantage (ABS, 2018). The reference value for the whole of Australia is set to 1,000. Lower values indicate lower socioeconomic status.
The indexes are:
• Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD)
• Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD)
• Index of Economic Resources (IER)
• Index of Education and Occupation (IEO).
In the IRSD, the constituent characteristics relate to occupation, education, non-English speaking background and the economic resources of the household. From 2011, the proportion of Aboriginal people is no longer a constituent variable of IRSD (ABS, 2011).
The score for each index is an ordinal measure with a mean of 1000 and standard deviation of 100 for Australia, and from 2011, based on the index scores of all Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1) in Australia. Scores for larger geographic areas such as Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Postal Areas (POA) are population-weighted averages of scores in constituent SA1.
The overall scores for states are not available because as the size of an area increases, it becomes correspondingly more heterogeneous and the socioeconomic index becomes less and less meaningful. For very large areas, it is more useful to look at the distribution of SA1 scores within each area. The distributions of SA1 scores within each state and territory are available at the ABS web site (ABS).
The ABS has released SEIFA scores after the last five censuses. The methods used to calculate scores were similar in 1986, 1991 and 1996, but changed in 2001, 2006 and 2011. The major change in 2006 was that the census data used in the calculation of the indexes was based on people's usual area of residence rather than their location on census night (place of enumeration) and in 2011 a new geography standard was used and the proportion of Aboriginal people was no longer a constituent variable of IRSD (ABS 2013). SEIFA 2016 broadly uses the same method that was used for SEIFA 2011, though there were updates to SA1 boundaries in many areas (ABS 2018).
In the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD), the constituent characteristics relate to occupation, education, non-English speaking background and the economic resources of the household. There are currently 16 variables contributing to the index and the proportion of Aboriginal people is no longer a constituent variable of IRSD (ABS 2018). This is the most frequently used and quoted SEIFA index.
The Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD) consists of 25 contributing variables. They summarise information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area, including both relative advantage and disadvantage measures.
A low score indicates relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. For example, an area could have a low score if there are (among other things) many households with low incomes, or many people in unskilled occupations. A high score indicates a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general. For example, an area may have a high score if there are (among other things) many households with high incomes, or many people in skilled occupations (ABS 2016)
The Index of Economic Resources (IER) focuses on the financial aspects of relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage, by summarising variables related to income and wealth. Education and occupation variables are excluded from this index because they are not direct measures of economic resources. Some relevant data on assets such as savings or equities are also not included because this information was not collected in the Census. There are 14 contributing variables. (ABS 2018)
The Index of Education and Occupation (IEO) is designed to reflect the educational and occupational level of communities. The education variables in this index show either the level of qualification achieved or whether further education is being undertaken. The occupation variables classify the workforce into the major groups and skill levels of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) and the unemployed. This index does not include any income variables. There are 10 variables contributing to the total score. (ABS 2018)
Socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with a higher prevalence of health risk factors and higher rates of hospitalisations, deaths and other adverse health outcomes. Maps of socioeconomic disadvantage by LGA viewed in conjunction with maps of health outcomes can assist in identifying factors which may be associated with poorer outcomes.
The NSW population was divided into five groups based on the IRSD scores of their SA2 of residence. This means that SA2s were sorted by IRSD score and assigned to population-weighted quintiles, each containing close to one-fifth of the total population. In some charts and data tables on HealthStats NSW, the quintiles were divided into three groups: the lowest SES population-weighted quintile, the highest SES population-weighted quintile, and the rest of the population, comprising the remaining three population-weighted quintiles.
Postal Areas (POAs) were grouped into quintiles of socioeconomic status based on the IRSD.
Adhikari P. Socio-economic indexes for areas: Introduction, use and future directions. ABS Catalogue no. 1351.0.55.015. Canberra: ABS, 2006.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) - Technical Paper, 2011. SEIFA Cat no 2033.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS, 2013.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) - Technical Paper, 2016. SEIFA Cat no 2033.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS, 2018.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. 1996 Census of population and housing. Socioeconomic indexes for areas. 2039.0. Canberra: ABS, 1998. Available at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/free.nsf/0/C17E9A880591BB45CA256AE9001BCD57/$File/2039.0_1996.pdf
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2016. Catalogue no 2033.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS, 2013. Available at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/2033.0.55.001~2016~Main%20Features~SOCIO-ECONOMIC%20INDEXES%20FOR%20AREAS%20(SEIFA)%202016~1
• Social factors such as income, socioeconomic status, employment status, educational attainment and crime rates are associated with inequalities in health.
• In 2016, four of the five most socioeconomically disadvantaged local government areas of NSW were in remote or very remote parts of the state (Brewarrina, Central Darling, Walgett and Coonamble). Fairfield Local Government Area, also one of the five most disadvantaged areas, is in south-western Sydney. The five least disadvantaged local government areas were all in metropolitan Sydney: Ku-ring-ai, Mosman, Lane Cove, Woollahra and North Sydney.
• The unemployment rate has remained relatively steady since 2000, and stood at 4.6% for males and 4.7% for females in September 2018. While female participation in the labour force is still lower than that of males, it has been steadily increasing over time while male participation rates have been relatively stable. In September 2018, the rate of female participation in the labour force was 59.9% while that of males was 70.1%.
• In NSW in 2016, 13.8% of the NSW population aged 15 years and over had gross weekly income of less than $150, while 8.8% had income of more than $2000. Males tended to have greater individual weekly income than females in NSW. Majority of persons aged 65 years and over (57.2%) reported earning between $150 and $649 per week.
• The Northern Sydney Local Health District had the smallest proportion of persons with weekly income of less than $600 (37.6%) and the Far West had the greatest proportion (54.8%) in 2016. In the same year, the Northern Sydney Local Health District also had the greatest proportion of persons with gross weekly income of $2,000 and more (6.0%) while the Mid North Coast Local Health Districts had the lowest (3.0%).
Social determinants of health are the economic and social conditions under which people live, which determine their health. The conditions most frequently regarded as social determinants of health are: individual and household income and income distribution in the society; employment and working conditions; education and literacy, including health literacy; housing; health and social services, including early childhood development support; and social cohesion. These factors are resources that a society makes available to its members to enable them to stay healthy, and, in broader terms, to equip them with the physical, social, and personal resources to identify and achieve personal aspirations, satisfy needs, and cope with the environment.
The World Health Organisation defines the social determnants of health in the following way:The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.
While Australia ranks among the most advanced nations in the world, the health burden in the Australian population attributable to relative socioeconomic disadvantage is large and much of this burden is potentially avoidable. Many indicators in HealthStats NSW show that socioeconomically disadvantaged groups experience more ill health, and are more likely to engage in behaviours or have a risk factor profile consistent with their poorer health status. These inequalities are important from both social justice and economic perspectives – they are ‘unfair’, preventable and have high direct and indirect impact on the health system.
The World Health Organisation has devleoped areas for action to reduce health inequities – in collaboration with civil society, United Nations and development organizations, academia, donors and the private sector – in five priority areas (as specified by the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health): enhancing health policies and decision-making, widening participation in policy-making and implementation, improving health care and services, strengthening international cooperation, and monitoring impact and progress.
World Health Organisation. Taking action to improve health equity. https://www.who.int/social_determinants/action_sdh/en/
Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au
Healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au
World Health Organization. Social determinants of health. Available at: http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/