ABS Geographies

The ABS has a Statistical Geography standard, at which they release all of their data from the census. This is a very important hierarchy, and it is a good idea to become familiar with it.

  • As the finest level of spatial aggregation, meshblocks usually represent a city block, or a tall apartment block- say, 30 to 60 households, or about 100 people
  • SA1s are a small neighbourhood.
  • SA2s represent, as closely as possible, gazetted suburbs in a metropolitan region.
  • SA3s are similar in their boundaries to LGAs,
  • SA4s represent large regions, while
  • GCCSAs are Greater Capital City Statistical Areas and represent each major metropolitan area in the country.

Geographies such as postcodes and suburbs although commonly known, are not statistically rigorous.
Here is the pre-2011 geographic hierarchy – These have coverages like LGA, SLA, SSD, SD etc- you’ll see these codes in older datasets.

For (much) more information on ABS Geographies, please visit http://www.abs.gov.au/geography
See also ASGS 2011 Structure and Summary for a good notated diagram