Centre of Full Employment and Equity

Index of Prosperity and Distress in Australian Localities (PDI)

The Centre of Full Employment and Equity together with the Policy Innovation Hub at Griffith University has developed the Index of Prosperity and Distress in Australian Localities (PDI) for communities across Australia. The PDI is a collaboration between Professors Scott Baum (Griffith University) and William Mitchell (CofFEE).

The Index of Prosperity and Distress is an indicator that rates communities across Australia in terms of their relative economic prosperity and distress based on a range of economic performance factors. The construction of the PDI is explained in the PDI Technical Manual (see link below).

The PDI is calculated primarily using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 Australian Census of Population and Housing. Some other ABS data are also used.

The spatial unit employed for the calculation of the PDI is the ABS defined Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2). These areas largely represent one or few small suburbs in metropolitan areas, while in rural areas they represent a town or a town's surrounds, or both combined. The ABS define the SA2s as "a general-purpose medium-sized area built from whole SA1s. Their aim is to represent a community that interacts together socially and economically."

The PDI is also calculated for an approximation of Federal Electorates, using the ABS Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs). The calculation of the index for electorates uses a population-weighted average of the SA2s within each electorate.

The PDI divides SA2s into five categories depending on its PDI score:

PDI category  
Distressed   communities in the bottom 20th percentile
At risk   communities between the 20th and 40th percentiles
Mid-range   communities between the 40th and 60th percentiles
Comfortable   communities between the 60th and 80th percentiles
Prosperous   communities in the top 20th percentile

It should be noted that the underlying modelling used to compute the PDI takes into account both suburb and individual characteristics. As a result, any one person in a Distressed community may themselves be quite prosperous, while any one person in a Prosperous suburb might, in fact, be very in economic distress. But in aggregate, we expect the communities on the whole to be in prosperity or distress depending on their position on the index metrics.

Media Contact

For media - please ring Professor Scott Baum on 0400 647 011.

Mapping Tool

The Mapping Tool provides a fully searchable map to explore the PDI for all localities included. By clicking on a specific locality on the map you can access its profile (also available via the Table below). You can also toggle between the SA2 map and the map for Federal Electorates.

Go to - Index of Prosperity and Distress in Australian Localities

View PDI tables by City

Please select a city that you are interested in and choose the way you want the data ordered in the table that is generated. All the suburbs in the city you select will then be displayed. Only cities with estimated resident populations over 70,000 in 2016 are listed.

Please choose the city
Please choose the ordering

View PDI tables for Electorates

The following will provide a table of Federal Electorates with their population-weighted index comprised of their constituent SA2s. Please select a state to list the electorates in that state (or all of Australia) and choose the way you want the data ordered in the table that is generated.

Please choose the state
Please choose the ordering

PDI Report

You can download the Final PDI Report which includes an explanation of the methodology used to calculate the PDI, commentary and the major policy recommendations.