The 10 places in Australia where people have the most social advantage

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  • Areas in Sydney’s east have the highest level of socioeconomic advantage in Australia, according to Australia’s 2016 census.
  • Residents in these areas tended to be middle-aged, had high levels of education, worked in more skilled occupations and had high incomes.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, the most disadvantaged areas were all found in regional Queensland and the Northern Territory.

If you live in eastern Sydney, you have an advantage over other Australians.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), it’s the home to the country’s highest level of socioeconomic advantage.

Socioeconomics is the relationship between economics and social wellbeing, taking into account variables such as education, income, occupation, wealth and housing characteristics compared to others in a community.

The ABS says socioeconomic advantage and disadvantage can be defined as a person’s access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society.

It also notes that rankings are assigned by geographic areas, not individuals, meaning it is possible for a relatively advantaged person to reside in an area which is deemed to have a high socioeconomic disadvantage, and vice versus.

Based on responses from Australia’s 2016 census, the ABS found Ku-ring-gai, located on Sydney’s leafy north shore, was the most advantaged local government area (LGA) in Australia, edging out the harbourside suburb of Mosman, and Woollahra, in Sydney’s east, for the title.

As seen in the table below, Sydney’s eastern LGAs, and a handful in Perth’s west, dominated the top 10 list of most advantaged areas in the latest census.

Source: ABS

“People living in the top 10 most relatively advantaged LGAs in 2016, on average, tended to be middle-aged, had high levels of education, worked in more skilled occupations and had high incomes,” the ABS said.

Nine of the 10 LGAs were also deemed to be the most advantaged areas when the last census was conducted in 2011.

At the other end of the spectrum, the ABS found the most disadvantaged LGAs were all in regional Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Source: ABS

On average, the ABS found people living in these LGAs on census night were young, had high levels of housing rentals, had low rental costs and had lower incomes.

Similar to what was seen in advantaged areas, the ABS said eight of the 10 areas were also identified as being the most disadvantaged areas in the 2011 census.

The ABS says its Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), can “help governments, communities and businesses determine areas needing additional funding and improved services, identify potential business opportunities, and research the relationship between health and education outcomes and the socio-economic conditions of an area”.

As seen in the map below, the further away from Australia’s capital cities you go, the greater socioeconomic disadvantage tends to become.

Source: ABS

“The most advantaged LGAs tend to be clustered around capital cities and selected coastal areas,” the ABS says. “The most disadvantaged LGAs tend to be in regional and rural areas.”