2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Dec 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/12/2006   
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The Classified Section

To ensure that the data from the Census is comparable with data from other collections, the ABS uses standard classifications. Classifications provide frameworks that facilitate standardised production, analysis, and dissemination of statistics. They are reviewed periodically to ensure they are up-to-date and meet current user needs. For the 2006 Census a number of major classifications have been reviewed and updated.

Industry of Employment

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 will be used to classify responses to 2006 Census questions on industry of employment.

Changes to the classification have been driven by changes in the structure, composition and organisation of business activity in Australia and New Zealand. There have been significant technological changes since the classification was developed in 1993 and some of these have effected the way industry and business operates. In addition, new industries have emerged, requiring the development of a new classification to ensure statistics remain relevant.

For more information contact Celia Quiatchon on (02) 6252 5604.


Data on occupation are collected in a wide variety of social and labour statistical collections and are a central element in labour market analysis, educational planning, immigration policy development and a range of other government activities. Responses to the Census occupation questions will be classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

ANZSCO has been developed by the ABS, Statistics New Zealand and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to provide a more up-to-date, relevant and conceptually sound classification, with improved capacity for analysis of trans-Tasman labour market data.

ANZSCO replaces the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Second Edition, which was used in both the 1996 and 2001 Censuses. Responses from the 2006 Census will be coded to both ANZSCO and ASCO Second Edition to facilitate time-series analysis of occupation data.


The Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) was first published in 1997 in response to wide community interest in the language usage of the Australian population. The classification has recently been reviewed and a second edition released.

Analysis of language responses from the 2001 Census revealed that the language profile of Australia has changed since the development of the first edition. Consequently, the classification has been revised to improve its relevance to users. The Second Edition has a more comprehensive coverage of languages spoken in Australia than the first edition, particularly in regard to Australian Indigenous Languages. It also includes some minor changes to the language groupings which improve the usefulness of the classification structure as well as a correspondence table between the two editions.

Religious Affiliation

Religious affiliation provides a useful indicator of aspects of the cultural diversity of Australia’s society and complements other variables such as country of birth and ancestry. People’s answers to the (optional) Census question on religion are coded using the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG). As well as recognised religions the classification also contains a broad group of "no religion". This is included for practical reasons and to make the classification more useful. Data on religion is used in deciding on the the location for establishing educational facilities, places of worship, aged care facilities, and in general sociological research.

This classification has undergone a minor revision.


There is a user need for statistical data that identifies a person’s ethnic or cultural origin for those groups that cannot be adequately identified through other Census questions such as language, religion, and country of birth. A question on ancestry is particularly useful to identify particular distinct groups within Australia such as Maori and Australian South Sea Islanders, or groups which are spread across countries such as the Kurdish people or Roma/Gypsy. Responses to the Census ancestry question are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG).

This classification has been updated prior to the 2006 Census on the basis of analysis of the 2001 Census data and extensive consultation with users and producers of cultural diversity data, academics, and ethnic and community groups.

Results from the 2006 Census will be processed and published using these new and updated classifications. The changes will be provided in full detail in the 2006 Census Dictionary which will be released before the Census. To facilitate analysis of trends over time, data from previous Censuses will be concorded to the new edition of the classification.

For more information on the revisions to occupation, language and religious affiliation, and ancestry classifications, email social.classifications@abs.gov.au.