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Low socio-economic status (SES) - CD measure

The low socio‑economic status (low SES) Census District (CD) measure was published in the Higher Education Statistics Collection publications from 2009 to 2013.

The low SES CD measure was based on assigning students' addresses to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2006 Census CD (smaller than a postcode, with an average of 225 dwellings per CD for the 2006 Census), with the SES value derived from the ABSs' Socio‑Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Education and Occupation for CD areas. CD areas in the bottom 25% of the population aged 15‑64 were classified as low SES (the middle 50% were classified as medium SES and the top 25% were classified as high SES). An estimate of the number of low SES students was made by counting the number of students whose census district was in a low SES area.

Technical notes

SES status is assigned to domestic students only, excluding domestic students who have a permanent home address overseas.

To calculate CD for each student, addresses for students were passed through geocoding software and assigned to a CD. Address information for a small proportion of higher education students is not available. In this case, the postcode of permanent home residence of the student was used to determine their SES status.

A small number of students are unable to be classified to a 'low', 'medium' or 'high' SES status, these students are therefore assigned to 'unknown'.


This glossary item applies to the collection types:
  • Higher Education Student Collection