Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG)
The Census uses the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) to code religious affiliation. The ASCRG was first published in 1996 and was revised in 2005. The 2006 Census uses the ASCRG Second Edition (2005) to code religious affiliation.
Religious affiliation provides a useful indicator of aspects of the cultural diversity of Australia's multicultural society. In order to satisfy community interest in the religious affiliations of the Australian population, and to meet statistical and administrative needs, the ABS developed the ASCRG.
In the classification, religions are grouped into progressively broader categories on the basis of similarity in terms of religious beliefs, religious practices and the cultural heritage of adherents. This results in those religions and religious groups which are closely related in terms of their intrinsic characteristics being closely aligned in the structure of the classification. Thus, similar populations of religious adherents are aligned to produce a classification that will be useful for the purposes of Australian social analysis.
To make the classification as useful as possible, the number of adherents of a particular religious group has been a significant factor in developing the classification structure so that the current religious composition of Australia is accurately reflected. Thus, Christian denominations are extensively identified. However, the identification of individual religions or denominations in the classification, and the way in which they are grouped, does not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the ABS concerning the relative merit or importance of particular religions or the people who practise them.
For more information refer to the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) Second Edition (cat. no. 1266.0), available in hard copy, and from the ABS web site <www.abs.gov.au>.
See also Religious Affiliation (RELP).