2033.0.55.001 - Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2018   
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR THE 2016 SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDEXES FOR AREAS (SEIFA)

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page answers some specific questions about the 2016 Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA). More general information about the 2016 Census of Population and Housing is available from the Census Home Page.

Have there been any changes to the geography used for SEIFA 2016?

SEIFA 2016 uses the 2016 version of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). The structure of the 2016 ASGS is similar to the structure of 2011 ASGS. However, there have been updates to Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1) boundaries in many areas. In particular, 2011 SA1s have been split into two or more SA1s for 2016 in many areas where there has been significant population growth. Also, State Suburbs (SSCs) and Postal Areas (POAs) are now constructed from Mesh Blocks rather than SA1s. Also note that SEIFA 2016 is not being released at the Statistical Local Area (SLA) level, since this is not part of the ASGS.

More information can be found in Section 1.4 of the SEIFA 2016 Technical Paper, which is available from the Downloads tab.

Are the methods used to produce SEIFA 2016 the same as for past releases of SEIFA?

SEIFA 2016 broadly uses the same method that was used for SEIFA 2011.

More information can be found in Chapter 4 of the SEIFA 2016 Technical Paper, which is available from the Downloads tab.

How does the ABS define advantage and disadvantage for SEIFA 2016?

For SEIFA, the ABS continues to broadly define relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage in terms of people's access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society.

This is the same definition used in SEIFA 2011.

Have there been any changes to the variables considered for inclusion in the indexes?

The candidate variable list from SEIFA 2011 was used for SEIFA 2016 with one exception: the type of internet access variable was not included in Census 2016, and so this was not available for inclusion in SEIFA 2016. Some variables were also updated in line with updated classification standards. Variables using cut-off values in their definitions, such as high and low income, were updated appropriately.

More information on this issue can be found in Chapter 3 of the SEIFA 2016 Technical Paper, which is available from the Downloads tab.

Are there any changes in the way SEIFA is presented in the output spreadsheets?


In general, the output spreadsheets are similar to those for SEIFA 2011. There are minor changes to the order of worksheets and the sorting of areas. Some additional information has been provided about SA1s that cross the boundaries of larger areas such as SSCs and POAs. Also, no information is being provided at the SLA level, since this is not part of the ASGS.

Where can I find the interactive maps for SEIFA 2016?

Interactive maps for SEIFA 2016 can be found on the ABS website on the Interactive maps page.

What is the difference between area-based and population-based SEIFA deciles?


Area-based and population-based SEIFA deciles are two different measures and have different uses in analysis.

Area-based deciles are calculated by dividing the areas, ordered by disadvantage, into 10 equally sized groups. Decile 1 contains the most disadvantaged areas. Area-based deciles are easy to interpret as SEIFA is designed and constructed as an area-based measure. Population-based deciles are calculated by dividing SEIFA areas into 10 equal groups in such a way that the population in each group is approximately equal. Due to SEIFA being created at an area level, there will still be some clumping of the population, so the population based deciles will not always be exactly a tenth of the population. Population-based deciles can be difficult to interpret as SEIFA is designed as an area-based measure. The population in the most disadvantaged population-based decile is the 10% of the national population residing in the most disadvantaged areas, rather than the most disadvantaged 10% of the population. This is due to SEIFA measuring the characteristics of an area rather than of individuals.

The area-based deciles are recommended for general use.

More information on this issue can be found in Section 6.6 of the SEIFA 2016 Technical Paper, which is available from the Downloads tab.