A person’s ancestry, when used in conjunction with the person’s country of birth and whether the person’s parents were born in Australia or overseas, provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. Ancestry is particularly useful to identify distinct ethnic or cultural groups within Australia such as Maoris or Australian South Sea Islanders, and groups which are spread across countries such as Kurds or Indians. Country of birth alone cannot identify these groups. This information is essential in developing policies which reflect the needs of our society and for the effective delivery of services to particular ethnic communities.
There are a number of changes in ancestry for 2006. These include changes to the questionnaire, the variable and the classification.
The basic ancestry question for both the 2001 and 2006 Censuses is the same. It asks 'What is the person's ancestry?'. However, the ancestries with mark boxes have changed, so that 'Greek' which was on the 2001 Census form becomes a write-in item for 2006 and 'Scottish' is included on the form in the pick-list. In addition, the instructions on completing the question have changed. For 2001, respondents were instructed to 'Provide more than one ancestry if necessary' and this changed in 2006 to 'Provide up to two ancestries only.' There were also changes in the Census Guide on answering the ancestry question. The 2001 guide advised respondents to consider their parents, grandparents and great grandparents when determining their ancestry. The 2006 Guide advises respondents to 'Consider the origins of the person's parents and grandparents...'.
For 2001, both the ancestry responses were recorded to a single Ancestry variable (ANCP). For the 2006 Census two variables, Ancestry1 (ANC1P) and Ancestry2 (ANC2P), will be used to record responses separately. The basis for allocating ancestries to the variables Ancestry1 and Ancestry2 is administrative only and is based solely on the order in which they are processed. Where respondents report more than two ancestries, only two are processed.
In the 2001 Census, the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG) First Edition was used to classify responses given to the ancestry question. The ASCCEG has since been revised and the Second Edition released in 2005 is used for the 2006 Census.
See also Country of birth, Indigenous Status (INGP), Language Spoken at Home (LANP), Proficiency in Spoken English (ENGP), Religious Affiliation (RELP), Year of Arrival in Australia (YARP).