Finding Somewhere Nice to Live in Australia

Biff! Bosh! Bash!


This is exactly what you don’t want to happen to you whilst you’re out at night on walkabout, or any time really. But when you’re looking at new areas in which to live, and you don’t know the country well let alone those areas, how do you find somewhere that is safe?

I have written about this before, but today I have an update to my previous post on this called What Are the Bad Areas to Avoid in Australia?

housingChoosing which suburb to move to in Australia from the comfort of your armchair in another country is a very tricky task, no doubt about that. In the comments, I’m often asked questions like:

“What are the bad areas to avoid in Brisbane?”
“Can you tell me which are the safe suburbs in Sydney?”
“Can you tell me which are the nice areas in Melbourne?”

I think to judge a suburb, to give it a label like “bad” or “safe” or “nice”, you need to have lived there for some time to really know what it’s like. Thankfully, often as not, one of my readers who does know that particular area well will help out with the answer.

Australia is a big place though, nobody can possibly know what every area is like here.

Or can they?

Australian Census 2016

At one point, I think it was touch and go whether the 2016 census would get finished due to the problems I mentioned in my post Completing the Australian Census Form Online: Part 1. Well, it did get completed, and thanks to that, we can all have access to a huge resource of information about all the Australian cities, towns and suburbs.

My previous post mentioned above was based on 2011 census information, but with this latest census the Australian Bureau of Statistics have excelled themselves. They have produced an interactive map where you can search by city, suburb, town, area or postcode to find the most advantaged areas in Australia, through to the most disadvantaged.

At the end of this article I will give you a link to the ABS website where you can drill down to any one of the many towns and suburbs in Australia to see how they have been ranked. Before that though, some background information.

Now I know advantaged and disadvantaged does not equate to either nice, safe or bad areas, but it is solid information based on facts. The government, through the census, collect information like income, educational achievements, employment, types of dwelling, assets and expenditure.

In their own words “the ABS broadly defines relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage in terms of people’s access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society.

From this information suburbs are then graded 1-5 as most disadvantaged, those are the red areas, through orange, yellow, light blue and then finally dark blue, which is most advantaged.

Let’s see how this works using the city I live in, Brisbane.


The current Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, was raised in Durack. Durack is red and therefore one of Brisbane’s most disadvantaged areas.

DurackNot sure what that tells us, but maybe it says that even some of our most disadvantaged areas in Australia are not too shabby if someone born in one of them can end up in charge of the state.

Let’s go through the colours and find a random suburb in Brisbane for each.


Less than 1 kilometre from Durack is Darra, which is orange and again disadvantaged, but not as disadvantaged as Durack.


Capalaba, about 30 kilometres to the east, is yellow, that’s the midpoint between most disadvantaged and most advantaged.

CapalabaStafford Heights

North of the river, about 30 kilometres from Capalaba is Stafford Heights, which is light blue. This makes it an advantaged suburb, but not the most advantaged.

Stafford HeightsEverton Park

Just next door to Stafford Heights though, is Everton Park. This is dark blue, so it is one of Brisbane’s most advantaged suburbs.

Everton ParkWhat I haven’t shown you in the previous pictures which you can clearly see in this one for Everton Park, is that the ABS also offer ‘QuickStats’. You can see the link in the bottom of the white box that has popped up on that map.

Click on QuickStats and you will be able to see the population of that suburb, the male/female split, and other information like average mortgage or rent. Here’s how it looks for Everton Park…

Quick StatsGreater Brisbane

I know I have stated elsewhere on this website that, by and large, north of the river is nicer than south of the river. If you look at this map of Greater Brisbane, it’s easy to see that is the case.

Greater BrisbaneSwathes of blue both sides of the river, but that blue continues further north of the river, but tends to turn to red and orange when you go further south. Incidentally, the white spaces are areas where not enough people live for it to have a rating. So places like forests, national parks, mountains, lakes and the bush.

Let’s take a look at all our other capital cities, allowing the colours on the maps to tell their own story.







DarwinAs I’ve mentioned, whether a suburb is advantaged or disadvantaged doesn’t really tell you if it is either bad, safe or nice. This interactive map though is a marvellous tool, and certainly easier to use to research suburbs than the various websites listed on my page Crime Statistics in Australia: Finding Safe Suburbs.

For those of you who are still living in a land far far away, or even if you are already here and thinking of moving to another city or town, I’m sure these tools will be helpful as you search for your ideal suburb in Australia.

How can I select and check locations in Australia?

Simple; visit the link below and when the interactive map loads, enter a location in the search box on the top right hand side of the map. You can then select one of five different criteria from the drop down menu below that search box, I preferred either Postal Area or State Suburb, and then zoom in or out of the map to check the area.

Here’s the link:

Visa Assessment Service
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • luke July 11, 2018, 8:29 pm |


    i landed in Sydney from the UK in Oct 2017. i spent almost my entire time in the Northern Beaches or the CBD. I thought O.M.G Sydney is fantastic, no chavs, no boy racers, no intimidating teenage gangs, criminal damage etc etc. They i got a job working in the west and what a difference. Loads of crappy housing estates, bogan boy racers, crime etc.

    Anyway, the bottom line is it doesn’t matter where you live, there will always be areas that struggle. Sydney is by no means unicorns and rainbows

    • BobinOz July 12, 2018, 7:43 pm |

      So true. I stayed in Sydney’s North Shore for a few days sometime ago, I wrote a post about it calling it The Other Side of Sydney…

      That’s the Sydney I would like to live in if I had to live in that city, it’s great, but of course, I couldn’t afford to live there. I think you need to be some kind of millionaire to live on that side of town.

      I think I would have to live west, but luckily I don’t have to, I’m happy staying here in Brisbane.

  • Mark Rodgers June 14, 2018, 3:20 pm |

    In relation to Johns question and your answer, would Australia have less poverty and more poorer class or class divide then the uk?

    One one other thing, is it true coming to Australia from the UK it’s like going back in time 15 years or is day to day life, as in the modernness of the country pretty well the same as the UK. It’s always implied the UK is so much more advanced.

    • BobinOz June 15, 2018, 8:42 pm |

      Well, for the first part of your question, I can’t do any better than my answer to John. I don’t have any hard facts or figures, so I can’t really say any more than I already have to him.

      As for going back 15 years if you come to Australia, I suppose that depends where you go and exactly where you come from. I often go to Stradbroke Island, which is just off the coast of Brisbane, that’s definitely like going back 15 years, maybe 20.

      I think that’s a good thing.

      But our major cities, the state capitals, are mostly very modern and advanced. Some of the smaller cities are like country towns, but then the UK has those as well.

  • John Simms May 31, 2018, 12:04 pm |

    Hey Bob in your experience would Australia have more disadvantaged areas and places then the uk as a whole?
    Or is society pretty even in both countries?
    Are Australia’s disadvantaged areas poorer then the uks?

    • BobinOz May 31, 2018, 9:01 pm |

      Good question, hard to answer, I only really have experience in Brisbane. When I visit other cities in Australia, it’s not the most disadvantaged areas that I usually pick out to go visit 🙂

      I’ve been to quite a few of the most disadvantaged areas in Brisbane though, the red areas, and they don’t seem too bad, although I’ve not walked the streets of them late at night. Those disadvantaged areas I have seen though, in Brisbane anyway, the housing is definitely bigger and more spaced out than the poor areas I’ve seen in the UK.

      I would imagine that each of our countries has similar numbers by population of poor people, I suspect though the Australian disadvantaged do have better living conditions.

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