An SA2 is identifiable by a 9-digit fully hierarchical code. The SA2 identifier is a 4-digit code, assigned in alphabetical order within an SA3. An SA2 code is only unique within a state/territory if it is preceded by the state/territory identifier.
There are 2,196 SA2 spatial units. In aggregate, they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. Jervis Bay Territory, the Territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island are each represented by an SA2.
The geographical location is reported using a nine digit numerical code to indicate the Statistical Area (SA) within the reporting state or territory, as defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), catalogue number 1270.0.55.001).
When collecting the geographical location of a person's usual place of residence, the ABS recommends that 'usual' be defined as: 'the place where the person has or intends to live for 6 months or more, or the place that the person regards as their main residence, or where the person has no other residence, the place they currently reside.' Apart from collecting a person's usual place of residence there is also a need in some collections to collect area of residence immediately prior to or after assistance is provided, or at some other point in time.
Geographical location is reported using Statistical Area to enable accurate aggregation of information to larger areas within the ASGS as well as detailed analysis at the SA2 level. The use of SA2 also allows analysis relating the data to information compiled by the ABS on the demographic and other characteristics of the population of each SA2. Analyses facilitated by the inclusion of SA2 information include:
comparison of the use of services by persons residing in different geographical areas;
characterisation of catchment areas and populations for establishments for planning purposes; and
documentation of the provision of services to residents of states or territories other than the state or territory of the provider.