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2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/11/2006  Reissue
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Contents >> Glossary >> Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC)

Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC)

The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) is used to classify responses to the 2006 question 'In which country was the person born?'.

The SACC is based on the concept of geographic proximity. It groups neighbouring countries into progressively broader geographic areas based on similar social, cultural, economic and political characteristics.

The classification contains three levels. The third level consists of the base units (countries). At this level there are 245 units including five 'not elsewhere classified' (nec) categories. In addition the Census uses 34 'Not further defined' (nfd) codes. These codes are used where a response contains insufficient information to be coded to the lowest level of the classification.

The second level comprises 27 minor groups, which are groups of neighbouring countries similar in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics.

The first level comprises nine major groups which are formed by aggregating geographically proximate minor groups.

The following example illustrates the hierarchical structure of the classification:

Major Group:
Minor Group:
    South America
Country Unit:

The term countries is used to describe the base-level units. Not all of the units classified are fully independent countries. The base-level units of the classification include:

    • fully independent countries (sovereign nation states);
    • administrative subdivisions of the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
    • external territories and dependencies of independent countries. In general, they are physically isolated from the country to which they are dependent, for example, Falkland Islands, Martinique;
    • units which are recognised geographic areas, the ownership or control of which is in dispute, for example, Gaza Strip and West Bank; and
    • residual categories (nec) comprised of geographic areas which are not separately identified in the classification and which are not part of one of the separately identified base-level units.

For further information see the ABS publication: Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0),which is also available from our web site <>.

See also Country of birth.

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