1266.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/07/2016   
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ABOUT THE REVIEW

PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW

The need for periodic reviews of the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) to reflect changes in the religious profile of the Australian population, was foreshadowed when ASCRG was first released.

Analysis of 2011 Census of Population and Housing Religious Affiliation data indicated the need for a review of ASCRG:

  • to ensure the classification is up-to-date for use in the 2016 Census
  • to reflect changes to the coverage of Australian religious and spiritual beliefs
  • to make some changes to coding assignment in the classification
  • to improve the coding index used to code responses to the religious affiliation question.

A review of ASCRG was undertaken in 2016 to address these issues. It was deemed necessary to expand broad group seven of the classification to reduce the reliance on supplementary codes which have in the past been used to collect data reflecting spiritual beliefs which do not fit neatly into the six major groups used to list the recognised World religions.

An assessment of the conceptual model underpinning the classification was out of scope of this review.


HOW IT WAS DONE

Statistical analysis

Analysis of responses to the 2011 Census of Population and Housing Religious Affiliation question was conducted to identify:
  • new religious groups
  • religious groups whose number of affiliated persons had significantly increased
  • religious groups whose number of affiliated persons had significantly declined
  • other spiritual beliefs and practices which would be better placed in an expanded broad group seven rather than relying on supplementary codes.

External research

Extensive research was conducted to:
  • confirm the appropriate terminology to be used for categories in the classification
  • supplement the Census of Population and Housing data and stakeholder comments
  • assess the accuracy of coding of religious groups.

Stakeholder consultation

Consultation was undertaken with a range of users and stakeholders, and experts in the field. Although, stakeholders were generally satisfied with the classification some matters were identified for update and further analysis.

The classification was updated where data, external research and stakeholder analysis indicated necessary or appropriate changes were needed.