1. Since the time of British settlement, cultural and language diversity in Australia has been widely influenced by immigration. There is significant community interest in measuring the ethnic and cultural composition of the Australian population and in identifying the characteristics of particular migrant community groups. Determination of whether or not someone is an immigrant, and the country or community group to which they are likely to be attached, is based on the variable Country of Birth of Person.
2. Migrants and their descendants have been identified by programme developers and service providers as forming population groups that are likely to experience disadvantage when seeking to obtain equal access to government and community programmes and services in Australia. Data relating to Country of Birth of Person can thus be used to determine, measure and monitor service needs (in terms of access and equity requirements), particularly when used with other variables such as Country of Birth of Father or Mother, language variables, Proficiency in Spoken English, Year of Arrival in Australia, and Religious Affiliation.
3. It should be noted however, that Country of Birth of Person when used with a range of other variables is able to measure cultural diversity in its broader sense. It may indicate the extent to which persons from certain backgrounds are associated with advantage, as well as measuring disadvantage in terms of access to services.
4. The variable Country of Birth of Person has been endorsed by the Ministerial Council of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs as one of the four Minimum Core Indicators of the standard set of indicators for use in measuring cultural and linguistic diversity. The set is to be progressively implemented in administrative and service settings to provide data to determine, measure and monitor service needs (access and equity requirements), and to provide a measure of cultural diversity in its broader sense.