What are SA1s, SA2s and SA3s?

When viewing datasets on the map you can see the data displayed at three different levels SA3, SA2, SA1. SA1 is the most granular of these and is the area upon which all calculations in Community Insight Australia are built.

  • SA1s have a population of between 200 and 800, with an average of around 400 people. Most of the data generated from the ABS Census is available at SA1 level. SA1s are referred to by number only. Their numbers are extensions of SA2 numbers.
  • SA2s are similar in size to suburbs, and are called by suburb names. This is the smallest granularity Centrelink data is available.
  • SA3s are regions. Most of our health data has a granularity of SA3.

Sydney SA3

In the map to the left (or above), the area defined by the black outline is the SA3 called ‘Sydney Inner City’, and the shaded areas are SA1s.Sydney SA2

In the next map, the area outlined in black is an SA2 within the SA3. It is called ‘Surry Hills’, and the shaded areas are also SA2s.

There are a few changes to the definitions with every Census. We use the 2016 definitions, which have an average of 25 SA1s in each SA2, and an average of 6 SA2s in every SA3. The number is dependent on the population density and geographical features like rivers, parks and main roads. The following table shows how many of each area type there are in Australia.

2016 Areas

How many in Australia 57,523 2,310 358


The codes for the SA1s, SA2s and SA3s are related. For example:

Code Name
SA1 50602112232
SA2 506021122 Rivervale – Kewdale – Cloverdale
SA3 50602 Belmont – Victoria Park
SA4 506 Perth – South East

Click on this link to download a spreadsheet from the ABS showing SA2 numbers and names and their corresponding SA3 numbers and names.

For a step-by-step guide on how to use SA1s, SA2s and SA3s to define areas within the Community Insight Australia tool, go to Select a Standard Area.