Exciting advancements in Social Data as 2016 SEIFA results released

The Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) data takes into account a number of social, economic and access measures to provide a ranking for the relative advantage and/or disadvantage experienced in a defined geographical area.



Having recently completed demographic updates on a number of metropolitan and regional areas with the 2016 ABS Census data, our researchers were interested to see what further detail the SEIFA results would reveal about our communities.

We spoke with our Research Lead, Elise O’Sullivan, about what the data meant and how it can best be used.

“Having the data and the mapping tool is a great way to get a snapshot of the Socio-Economic statuses of certain areas,” Elise says,

“Most importantly, it gives us a holistic overview of the communities which experience the greatest need, helping us to tailor our work to target and benefit pockets of disadvantage”.

The data that forms the SEIFA comes from the five-yearly census information. The last new batch of data was from 2011, so this new data will inevitably fill in a lot of the gaps that have started showing in data representation over the past half-decade.

The SEIFA was first produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1971 and covers a number of domain variables including:

  • Household income;
  • Education;
  • Occupation;
  • Employment;
  • Housing;
  • And other indicators of advantage and disadvantage.

SEIFA consists of four different indexes that, when combined, give each area a score, rank, decile, and percentile.

At Creating Communities, we can use this data to better understand the areas we are working in, and ensure that we are attuned to the key needs and aspirations of our communities. Elise, too, takes the data as a reminder of our key values.

“We need to be aware of what our neighbours are experiencing, we need to be compassionate and understanding when it comes to our own community and other communities around us.”

Understanding the communities in which we operate helps us, and our clients, better respond to changing trends and achieve greater outcomes for government, business, industry and community.”

Whilst it may be daunting to look at for those of us who aren’t expert researchers, the latest set of data has been compiled into an interactive map by The Guardian. Click here to find out more.