1) Background: The Socio-Economic Indexes For Areas (SEIFA) is published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) after every 5 yearly census. The most commonly used SEIFA is the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD), which ranks geographic areas based on their socio-economic disadvantage. This tool is used by government departments to identify areas of need for programs that target interventions in disadvantaged areas. The University of Newcastle formed a partnership with key New South Wales (NSW) Government departments that deliver human services in the Hunter region. This collaboration was facilitated by the Families First Initiative (FFI) to assist the targeting and delivery of services to children and vulnerable families. One of the aims of the partnership is to improve the targeting of services to areas of disadvantage. 2) Aims of the Paper: The paper’s first aim is to replicate the IRSD SEIFA for the Hunter Region, a Statistical Subdivision in NSW. A principal components analysis was performed on the identified variables used in the SEIFA, following the process detailed in the ABS technical paper as closely as possible. There was a high correlation between the ABS SEIFA and the Hunter Disadvantage scores as expected with the correlation being >0.95 [Figure 1. Comparison of ABS SEIFA and Hunter Disadvantage Scores] The Hunter disadvantage index accounted for 31.5% of the overall variance, which is comparable to the 32.5% accounted for by the ABS SEIFA. Both indexes indicated a large overall disadvantage factor, however the Hunter Disadvantage scores had a relatively higher loading from the variables of One Parent with Dependent Children and Government Rent. The paper’s second aim is to create an index of disadvantage for children. The Australian Census does not collect sufficient items to allow direct assessment of childhood disadvantage. The paper therefore assesses the proprietary of combining the Hunter Disadvantage scores (which is an estimate of the proportion of disadvantage borne by people in the area) with the proportion of children (aged 0-8 years old) as a targeting measure. The third aim for the paper is to include information available outside the census on disadvantage such as health data and crime rates. Finally, the paper examines the different geographical regions that are available for targeting, by proposing a hierarchical structure to combine the data available at different levels.
55th Session of the International Statistical Institute (ISI 2005). ISI 2005: Proceedings of the 55th Session of the International Statistical Institute (Sydney 5-12 April, 2005)