1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2007   
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Plans for 2006 SEIFA

The ABS has produced Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) from the Census of Population and Housing since 1991. With information available at the CD level, SEIFA is a popular and unique source of information on relative disadvantage. With each new Census we have the opportunity to refine and improve the set of SEIFA indexes. In March 2008 we will be releasing SEIFA 2006. So what are we investigating for the 2006 indexes?

The notion of disadvantage
Although SEIFA has always measured aspects of disadvantage, we have never had a conceptual framework to determine which variables should be included in the analysis - or which variables should not be included. 2006 SEIFA will be based on an explicit “notion of disadvantage” which will make this decision making process clearer.

New variables
The 2006 Census includes a range of new variables which appear to fit our notion of disadvantage. We will be exploring the use of variables such as disability, type of internet connection, unpaid care, voluntary work and remoteness. These variables could add a new dimension to the SEIFA indexes.

Household equivalised income
In the past the SEIFA indexes have used a large number of income variables. These variables were a combination of information on family income and family structure. Household equivalised income is more refined and accepted way of combining income with family structure. This could be quite a change for some of the SEIFA indexes.

The Index of Economic Resources
In 2001 SEIFA, 11 of the 15 variables used in this index were related to income and family structure. By using household equivalised income, many of these variables will become redundant. We are using an analysis of HIES and the 2001 Census to find a range of wealth related variables. We will consider each of these variables for the 2006 index of economic resources.

A new publication
This publication will explain the major points of SEIFA in a simple and non-technical way. It will describe what SEIFA is, what the numbers mean and the best ways of using SEIFA. This will be ideal for users who want a quick introduction to the SEIFA indexes without having to get into the technical side of things. It may form the basis of a help file on the ABS website.

This is just a selection of what's new for SEIFA 2006. After the March 2008 release, there will be a range of exciting new work as which may include experimental meshblock level indexes or indexes for particular sub groups.

For more information, please contact Joanne Baker on (02) 6252 6992.