2006 Census: SEIFA Product Brief

2006 Census of Population and Housing - Product Brief

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA 2006) cat. no. 2033.0.55.001

Product Description

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas 2006 (SEIFA 2006) is a product developed especially for those interested in the assessment of the welfare of Australian communities. The ABS has developed indexes to allow ranking of regions/areas, providing a method of determining the level of social and economic well-being in that region. The SEIFA indexes are created by combining information collected in the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing.

The four indexes are:
    • Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage - Looks at the whole continuum of advantage to disadvantage. Low values indicate areas of disadvantage; and high values indicate areas of advantage.
    • Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage - focuses on low income earners, relatively lower educational attainment and high unemployment.
    • Index of Economic Resources - focuses specifically on financial aspects of advantage and disadvantage.
    • Index of Education and Occupation - contains education and occupation variables only.
These indexes show where the affluent (as opposed to just high income earning) live; where disadvantaged (as opposed to the unemployed) live: and where the highly skilled and educated (as opposed to the tertiary educated people) live.
The SEIFA 2006 indexes are rankings. Each index ranks different geographic areas of Australia according to a 'score' that is created for the area based on characteristics of people, families and dwellings within that area.


SEIFA 2006 provides information and rankings for a wide range of geographic areas from small areas such as a Collection District (CD) to large areas such as Statistical Divisions. Alternatively, users will be able to customise areas to their own specifications. Geographic areas available are:
    • Collection District (CD)
    • Statistical Local Area (SLA)
    • Local Government Area (LGA); and
    • Postal Area (POA) - note that this is not an ASGC standard geographic area
    • State Suburb (SSC) - note that this is not an ASGC standard geographic area

The smallest area for which SEIFA is available is a Census Collection District (CD). A CD is equivalent to a group of suburban blocks, roughly 250 households in an urban area. However, in a rural area, a CD can represent far fewer households. Both SLAs and LGAs are standard geographic areas which are based on CDs. POAs are non-standard geographic areas, but have been created by the ABS to match Australia Post postcodes as closely as possible.

Note: The actual 'SEIFA 2006' Indexes are not released at the larger geographic levels ie., State, Statistical Division, and Statistical Subdivision. The ABS recommends that for these much larger areas that the distribution of CD index level scores within areas be used instead of population weighted averages. The reason is that as areas get larger the meaningfulness of the index scores gets smaller. This is because the index scores represent the relationship between the component variables at the CD level. The factors that constitute socio-economic well-being and their inter-relationships are likely to be different at higher geographic levels. For further information see section 6.2 of the 2039.0.55.001 - Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) - Technical Paper, 2006


SEIFA 2006 provides the option to print the displayed Index Values or Summary Reports for Areas and Regions.

The Reports displayed for the selected Areas will provide the following data for each specified index as follows:

    • Index Value of Area.
    • SEIFA 2006 Population of Area ie., the number of people who contributed to the index for that area.
    • Index of CDs Within Area, ie. Min, Max and Median
    • Reference values, at SLA level for either the relevant State, or Australia for comparative purposes


Clients will be able to sort their SEIFA 2006 data in a number of ways. Sorting methods include in ascending/descending or numerical order as well as sorting numerically by area or region code or alphabetically by area or region name.

Exporting options

Users will be able to export SEIFA 2006 tables in Microsoft excel format (.xls files).

Anticipated Release Dates

SEIFA 2006 is scheduled for release on 26 March 2008.