2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Oct 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/10/2006   
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Where are the disadvantaged? SEIFA investigates

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA 2001) allows users to investigate the socio-economic well-being of Australian communities and identify areas of advantage and disadvantage. Derived from information collected in the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, SEIFA 2001 consists of four separate indexes - each detailing a different aspect of an area's social and economic wellbeing. SEIFA indexes are increasing to grow in popularity amongst Census users for research purposes.

Information on the relative disadvantage according to where people live can allow for better targeting of services and assistance and may be useful for policy formulation. Research Paper Analysis of the Regional Distribution of Relatively Disadvantaged Areas using 2001 SEIFA (cat.no. 1351.0.55.013), released by the ABS, investigates the geographical distribution of disadvantaged areas across Australia. In particular, the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage is used to identify areas with relatively high proportions of people with characteristics associated with low socio-economic status.

This study found that there is an over-representation of disadvantaged CDs in remote areas. Only 2.7% of Australians live in remote or very remote areas but 13.7% of these are in disadvantaged CDs compared with 5.1% of people in major cities.

Two extremes were found within this study. Over 15% of people in the NT live in disadvantaged CDs and on the other end of the scale, less than 1% of people in the ACT live in disadvantaged CDs.

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) 2001, a powerful analytical tool, is available as a standalone software package, an Add-On Datapack for CDATA 2001, or as a consultancy service. To learn more about SEIFA or read the Research Paper in full visit www.abs.gov.au.