Population groups

Where available, this report presents data for a number of population groups. Population groups include those disaggregated by: socioeconomic areas, remoteness areas, disability status, and country of birth. Methods of presenting data by population groups can vary between data sources. Population groups may also be measured differently across data sources and will not be directly comparable.

Socioeconomic disadvantage

The Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) are summary measures of socioeconomic disadvantage, and summarise a range of socioeconomic variables associated with disadvantage. Socioeconomic disadvantage is typically associated with low income, high unemployment and low levels of education. Socioeconomic disadvantage data in Australia’s youth is typically reported using the Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD). The Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD) is a general socio-economic index that summarises a range of information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area. Unlike the other indexes, this index includes only measures of relative disadvantage. A low score indicates relatively greater disadvantage in general. A high score indicates a relative lack of disadvantage in general.

In some data sets, other measures of socioeconomic disadvantage are used instead.

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Socioeconomic background quartiles are based on the measure of socioeconomic background developed by PISA: the economic, social and cultural status index. This index incorporates information such as the highest level of occupation and education of a student’s parents. Using this index participating students are distributed into quartiles of socioeconomic background.


Remoteness is classified according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard 2016 Remoteness Areas structure, usually based on location of current residence. Data on the location of usual residence may be collected differently across data sources. ABS correspondences are used to mathematically reassign data from one geographic region to another, for example, Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) to Remoteness Areas.


The ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers is used to present data on young people with disability in Demographics of Australian young people and their families. Other definitions of disability are used for presentation of data from other sources.

ABS National Health Survey, 2017–18

A disability or restrictive long-term health condition exists if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder has lasted, or is expected to last, for six months or more, which restricts everyday activities.

A disability or restrictive long-term condition is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. The specific limitation or restriction is further classified by whether the limitation or restriction is a limitation in core activities, or a schooling/employment restriction only.

There are five levels of activity limitation (profound, severe, moderate, mild and school/employment restriction only). These are based on whether a person needs help, has difficulty, or uses aids or equipment with any core activities (mobility, self-care and communication). A person's overall level of core activity limitation is determined by their highest level of limitation in any of these activities.

Mission Australia Youth Survey 2019

Disability has been defined as any continuing condition that restricts everyday activities. It is not just a health issues. It is a complex, contested, evolving concept that reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which they live.

Mission Australia survey respondents were asked if they have a disability. To provide assistance, the survey notes that disability can be defined according to the Australian Disability Discrimination Act.


ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

In the 2016 Census, country of birth of person (BPLP) records an individual's specific country of birth, as it has in previous Censuses.

The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (ABS cat. no. 1269.0) is used to classify responses for country of birth data items. If a person uses a former country name, it is coded to the current country name. For example, Siam would be coded to Thailand. If country of birth of Person is not stated on the Census form, system edits derive it from other answers within the Census form. If country of birth is unable to be derived it is coded to 'Not stated'.

ABS National Health Survey (NHS), 2017–18

In the NHS, countries were coded according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (ABS cat. no. 1269.0).

Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)

In HILDA, data are collected about a respondent’s country of birth. Countries outside Australia can be categorised into ‘Main English-speaking’ countries or Other. Data are also collected about the country of birth for the respondent’s parents. Additional data are collected about year of arrival and languages spoken.