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Low socio-economic status (SES) - postcode measure

The low socio‑economic status (low SES) postcode measure is based on the students' postcode of permanent home residence, with the SES value derived from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Socio‑Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Education and Occupation for postal areas. Postal areas 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 postcode of permanent home location is in a low SES area.

The low SES postcode measure is available using the 2006 SEIFA (up to 2011) or the 2011 SEIFA (from 2011 onwards).

Technical notes

SES status is assigned to domestic students only, excluding domestic students who have a permanent home address overseas. To calculate SES status, permanent home residence (E320) for each student is used. When deriving a student's SES status for a particular year, the relevant postcode of permanent home residence for that year is used. The calculation uses the student's earliest available E320 value in the given year, as the initial value more closely represents the student's background.

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