Go west in Sydney, young man, and you will find not fame and fortune but Fairfield, Blacktown, Canterbury, Bankstown and Liverpool. And there you will find, gathered together, people living in areas which Australian Bureau of Census and Statistics figures show as being the most disadvantaged in New South Wales.

But if it is just purely and simply the most deprived areas, without taking the number of residents into account, you are after, there’s plenty of them not far from the central business district of Sydney. While census collection districts around Riverwood in the ABS’s statistical local area of Canterbury are the most deprived areas of the State, along with a little pocket of Moree on the northern central plains, Redfern and Waterloo in inner South Sydney figure prominently.

In this Crikey study of the most socially disadvantaged areas of NSW we look at the figures derived from the Census of 2006 in two ways – the smallest area for which the ABS publishes figures called census collection districts (CSD’s) and then an accumulation of these CSD’s into larger units, more like suburbs, which the ABS describes as statistical local areas.

The figures are based on the Preliminary Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (PIRSD) recently published by the ABS. The PIRSD summarises a wide range of information on disadvantage collected from the 2006 census, including low income, little education, high unemployment and unskilled occupations.

THE 20 MOST SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED AREAS OF NSW AS MEASURED IN THE 2006 CENSUS

Census Collection District Location State Rank National Rank Population
1350101 Riverwood, Canterbury, Canterbury Bankstown 1 74 191
1350113 Riverwood, Canterbury, Canterbury Bankstown 2 84 435
1041808 Moree, Moree Plains – North Central Plain 3 88 60
1350102 Riverwood, Canterbury, Canterbury Bankstown 4 91 296
1400903 Redfern, Sydney South – Inner Sydney 5 99 141
1101411 Hamilton, South Newcastle – Throsby – Newcastle 6 103 256
1400702 Redfern, Sydney South – Inner Sydney 7 111 214
1021103 Murrin Bridge, Cobar, Upper Darling 8 121 102
1400714 Waterloo, Sydney South – Inner Sydney 9 130 288
1400911 Sydney South – Inner Sydney 10 132 225
1101410 Hamilton, South Newcastle – Throsby – Newcastle 11 135 196
1180714 Nowra, Shoalhaven – Nowra-Bomaderry 12 142 806
1111706 Shoal Bay Road, Port Stephens – Newcastle 13 154 88
1100101 Stockton, Newcastle inner city – Newcastle 14 158 1107
1400712 Sydney South – Inner Sydney 15 163 194
1350111 Canterbury – Canterbury Bankstown 16 171 252
1081401 West Kempsey, Kempsey – Hastings 17 172 693
1400711 Waterloo, Sydney South – Inner Sydney 18 176 316
1400701 Redfern, Sydney South – Inner Sydney 19 177 323
1400710 Waterloo, Sydney South – Inner Sydney 20 180 295

(To see the location of each area click on the Census Collection District number)

The Worst in NSW

When it comes to looking at the broader areas, with social disadvantage grouped by the total population which lives in the area, part of Fairfield East comes out on top as the most socially disadvantaged. It has 75,294 people living in areas classified as the top decile (10%) of disadvantage.

Blacktown south west comes in second. At the time of the census there were 34,702 people living in areas classified as the top disadvantage decile.

In Liverpool East, 34,322 people were in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the state.

It is no surprise to find that Canterbury, which contains four of the 20 most deprived census collection districts, makes the list of suburbs with the most people living in one of the most disadvantaged areas of NSW.

You can click here for a list of how many people in each Sydney suburb and NSW regional and country town live in one of NSW’s top decile (worst) areas of social disadvantage.

The Best in NSW

At the other end of the scale, the least socially deprived areas of Sydney, as measured by the small units of census collection districts, are predominantly clustered around Sydney’s north shore and the eastern suburbs although one pocket of Queanbeyan, just outside of Canberra, makes the top 20 list.

THE 20 LEAST SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED AREAS OF NSW AS MEASURED IN THE 2006 CENSUS

Census Collection District Location State Rank National Rank Population
1382501 Castlecrag, Willoughby – Lower Northern Sydney 1 37455 421
1441108 Vaucluse, Woolahra – Eastern Suburbs 2 37454 273
1381709 Longueville, Lane Cove – Lower Northern Sydney 3 37452 461
1440708 Bellevue Bill, Woolahra – Eastern Suburbs 4 37449 292
1382908 Northbridge, Willoughby – Lower Northern Sydney 5 37448 499
1381707 Northwood, Lane Cove – Lower Northern Sydney 6 37447 908
1441107 Vaucluse, Woolahra – Eastern Suburbs 7 37446 517
1370402 Wahroonga, Ku-Ring-Gai – Central Northern Sydney 8 37443 838
1370804 Pymble, Ku-Ring-Gai – Central Northern Sydney 9 37442 553
1370510 Pymble, Ku-Ring-Gai – Central Northern Sydney 10 37438 742
1391301 Middle Harbour, Mosman – Lower Northern Sydney 11 37437 634
1391304 Mosman & Middle Harbour, Mosman – Lower Northern Sydney 12 37436 345
1370408 Warrawee, Ku-Ring-Gai – Central Northern Sydney 13 37434 1223
1382910 Northbridge, Willoughby – Lower Northern Sydney 14 37432 930
1172002 Jerrabomberra, Queanbeyan – Queanbeyan 15 37431 865
1441001 Vaucluse, Woolahra – Eastern Suburbs 16 37430 408
1391711 Mosman, Mosman – Lower Northern Sydney 17 37429 622
1371303 Lindfield, Ku-Ring-Gai – Central Northern Sydney 18 37428 648
1391710 Mosman, Mosman – Lower Northern Sydney 19 37427 713
1370805 Pymble, Ku-Ring-Gai – Central Northern Sydney 20 37426 661

(To see the location of each area click on the Census Collection District number)

When it comes to looking at the broader suburbs, with areas with the least social disadvantage grouped by the total population which lives in the area, Ku-Ring-Gai comes out top with 91,936 people in areas classified in a 10th decile (least disadvantaged) area.

The west of the Sutherland Shire in the St George Sutherland region came in second with 56,174 people living in a 10th decile area at the time of the 2006 Census.

In Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches region, 55,596 people lived in one of the least disadvantaged areas on Census day..

The central part of Baulkham Hills had 49,305 people living in the best decile area.

And if you are wondering why Woolahra in the Eastern Suburbs does not feature in this abbreviated list, just remember that this is a ranking based on the quantity of people living in a best (or least disadvantaged) area not the quality. The really exclusive suburbs are just that – exclusive to the privileged few and thus destined not to feature in a mass market approach like this.

You can click here for a list of how many people in each Sydney suburb and NSW regional and country town live in one of NSW’s bottom decile (best) areas of least social disadvantage.

Peter Fray

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