HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW


Back to all topics Aboriginal health Alcohol Antenatal care Asthma Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Communicable diseases Coronary heart disease Country of birth Diabetes Drug misuse Environment Falls Health-related behaviours Immunisation Influenza Injury and poisoning Life expectancy Low birth weight Mental health Mothers and babies Nutrition Oral health Overview of deaths Overview of hospitalisations Overweight or obesity Physical activity Population Population health performance indicators Potentially avoidable deaths Potentially preventable hospitalisations Pregnancy and the newborn period Psychological distress Respiratory disease Rural and remote populations Sexually transmissible infections Smoking Social determinants Socioeconomic status Stroke Suicide Vaccine preventable diseases


Acute respiratory infection hospitalisations Alcohol attributable deaths Alcohol attributable hospitalisations Alcohol drinking frequency in adults Alcohol drinking in adults Antenatal care by gestational age Asthma deaths Asthma hospitalisations Asthma prevalence in adults Asthma prevalence in children Babies in NSW Baby condition at birth: Apgar score Baby discharge status Birth weight Burn injury hospitalisations Chronic kidney disease deaths Chronic kidney disease hospitalisations Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease hospitalisations by age Circulatory disease deaths Circulatory disease deaths by disease type Circulatory disease hospitalisations Circulatory disease hospitalisations by disease type Circulatory disease procedures by type Coronary heart disease hospitalisations by age Deaths by category of cause Deaths from all causes Dementia hospitalisations Diabetes hospitalisations by type of diabetes and age Diabetes hospitalisations: principal diagnosis or comorbidity Diabetes prevalence in adults Diabetes-related deaths Duration of pregnancy at birth (gestational age) Excellent, very good and good self rated health in adults Fall-related hospitalisations Fall-related injury hospitalisations Fertility rates Fruit and vegetables: recommended daily consumption by adults Fruit and vegetables: recommended daily consumption by children Gastrointestinal infection hospitalisations High blood pressure in adults High body mass attributable deaths High body mass attributable hospitalisations High cholesterol in adults High or very high psychological distress in adults Hospitalisations by category of cause Hospitalisations for all causes Immediate risk alcohol drinking in adults Infant feeding at discharge by type of feeding Influenza and pneumonia deaths Influenza and pneumonia hospitalisations Influenza immunisation Injury and poisoning deaths Injury and poisoning deaths by leading cause Injury and poisoning hospitalisations Injury and poisoning hospitalisations by leading cause Intentional self-harm: hospitalisations Interpersonal violence–related hospitalisations Interpersonal-violence–related deaths Labour onset Life expectancy Low birth weight babies Maternal age Maternal medical conditions Meningococcal-related hospitalisations Methamphetamine-related hospitalisations Mothers in NSW Motor vehicle crash deaths Motor vehicle crash hospitalisations Number of previous pregnancies: Parity Oral health hospitalisations by reason for hospitalisation Overweight and obesity in adults Perinatal mortality Physical activity in adults Physical activity in children by behaviour type Place of birth Potentially avoidable deaths Potentially preventable hospitalisations by category Potentially preventable hospitalisations by condition Preterm births Prevalence of falls in the elderly Psychological distress by Kessler 10 categories Public dental service visits by children, prevalence Respiratory disease deaths by disease type Respiratory diseases hospitalisations Revascularisation procedures for coronary heart disease Skin infection hospitalisations Smoke-free cars Smoke-free households Smoking attributable deaths Smoking attributable hospitalisations Smoking in adults Smoking in pregnancy Smoking status categories Stroke hospitalisations Suicide Type of birth (vaginal, caesarean, forceps etc)


  • + Key points: Socioeconomic status

    • In NSW and Australia there are differences between socioeconomic groups in many measures of mortality and morbidity, due to differences in the determinants of health (both social and behavioural) between groups and to inequalities in the health system.

    • Life expectancy has increased and rates of premature and potentially avoidable deaths have declined among all socioeconomic groups over the past 20 years in NSW.

    • In this period life expectancy has remained consistently higher and premature and potentially avoidable death, ambulatory care sensitive hospital separations, and teenage pregnancy rates consistently lower, in the highest socioeconomic group than in the lowest socioeconomic group.

    • Smoking and overweight and obesity show a similar pattern of sustained differences between the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups over time.

    • Rates of decline in premature and potentially avoidable death have been greatest in the highest socioeconomic quintile for both males and females, resulting in an increasing relative 'gap' between this group and the rest of the population.

    • Relative gaps in teenage pregnancy rates increased between all three socioeconomic groups.

    • From 2002 to 2009, the relative gap in the prevalence of overweight and obesity was stable for both sexes, while the relative gap in the prevalence of smoking was stable for females but increased for males.

  • + Background: Socioeconomic status


    The term "socioeconomic position" means the social and economic factors that influence what position individuals and groups hold within society that may have an influence on their health. Individual-level measures of socioeconomic position include occupation, income, assets and education. Group or area-level measures include occupational, educational and economic structure, housing characteristics and indexes of poverty or deprivation.

    This report uses the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD), one of four Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics based on census data, to measure socioeconomic disadvantage in the NSW population. The IRSD includes the main measures of disadvantage (low income, high unemployment, low levels of education and high levels of unskilled occupations) as well as other measures shown to be associated with disadvantage, such as the proportions of Aboriginal people, persons with low English fluency, and multiple families living in the one house in an area. IRSD scores are assigned to geographic areas rather than individuals, weighted to the population of the area, and ranked for the whole of Australia.

    Such an approach means that health outcomes can be compared between areas based on the overall socioeconomic status of areas. A disadvantage is that area scores may hide pockets of disadvantage in larger geographic areas. The IRSD also does not consider other socioeconomic measures which may be important, such as wealth, community infrastructure, or cost of living differences (Adhikari 2006).

    Further discussion of SEIFA is included under the Methods tab.


    The health of all Australians has improved enormously over the 20th century, with the life expectancy of both genders increasing by about 20 years over this time. Despite this, health outcomes remain unequally distributed between different socioeconomic subgroups of the NSW population.

    Burden of disease

    The socioeconomic gradient in population health is well-documented: as socioeconomic disadvantage increases, there is a simultaneous increase in mortality and morbidity from both avoidable and other causes. The health burden in the Australian population attributable to socioeconomic disadvantage is large and much of this burden is potentially avoidable.


    Adhikari P. Socio-economic indexes for areas: Introduction, use and future directions. ABS Catalogue no. 1351.0.55.015. Canberra: ABS, 2006.

  • + Interventions: Socioeconomic status

    Both absolute and relative changes in indicators of socioeconomic disadvantage are presented in the report as each of these measures provides important information for assessing the success of any initiative aiming to reduce inequality.

    Interventions aiming to reduce inequality are embedded in strategies dealing with specific health issues or specific disadvantaged populations.