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Low socio-economic status (SES) - SA1 measure

The low socio‑economic status (low SES) Statistical Area 1 (SA1) measure is based on assigning students' addresses to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011 SA1 (54,805 regions, with populations in the range 200‑800, for the 2011 Census), with the SES value derived from the ABSs' Socio‑Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Education and Occupation for SA1 areas. SA1s in the bottom 25% of the population aged 15‑64 are classified as low SES (the middle 50% are classified as medium SES and the top 25% are classified as high SES). An estimate of the number of low SES students is made by counting the number of students whose SA1 is 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 an SA1 for each student, addresses for students are passed through geocoding software and assigned to an SA1. 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 is 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