Linkage to the PLIDA Person Linkage Spine

Initially, settlement data used in this analysis were linked at person level to the Person Linkage Spine (Spine) to identify permanent migrants (including humanitarian entrants) who arrived in Australia from 2000 onwards. Of the 3.7 million permanent migrants in the Settlement Database (SDB) data, who arrived in Australia from 2000 onwards, over 94% of them were linked to the Spine.

There were 240,476 refugee and humanitarian entrants in the SDB with an in-scope visa as the last visa granted and 235, 998 (98.1%) of the cohort had a linkage to the Spine (Table 1.2). The quality of linkage is high, with 95.4% of the linked humanitarian records having a linkage quality rating of 1, meaning that all personal identifiers match between the SDB and Spine records. This indicates that there is unlikely to be linkage errors where there are false matches (incorrect links) or missed matches (records from the same individual fail to link).

The linkage rate does not vary by sex (98.1% for both males and females) or by age at arrival (lowest rate of 97.1% in the 60–69 age group, highest rate of 98.3% in the 40–49 age group).

There was some variation in the linkage rate by year of arrival. The linkage rate for all years was above 97% except for 2021 where the linkage rate was 9.3%. This is due to the Person-Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA) (previously known as the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP)) Spine using data sets up to 30 June 2021. As a consequence of this migrants who arrived in 2021 were not represented in the analysis cohorts.

Table 1.2 Linkage rates of the migrant cohorts to the PLIDA person linkage Spine
Population groupNumber of records in the SDBLinked to spineLinkage rate
Refugee and humanitarian entrants240,476235,99898.1%
Other migrants3,649,6863,429,42594.0%
Total migrants3,890,1623,665,42394.2%

Source: AIHW analysis of PLIDA, 2021.

To identify health outcomes and those who have a record in the mortality data, the combined settlement-Spine data was further linked to service use (MBS, PBS), mortality and 2021 Census data in the PLIDA. Any record that did not link to the PLIDA Spine, including for non-migrant records, was excluded from this analysis as the record could not be appropriately assigned to a cohort.


Person-Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA), 2021, PLIDA Modular Product, ABS DataLab. Findings based on use of PLIDA data.