2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Country of Birth of Person (BPLP)

This variable indicates the country in which a person was born and is applicable to all persons.

How this variable is created

Country of Birth of Person is a variable that is created based on the response to the question of which country the person was born. An image of this question in the Census Household form is provided at the bottom of this document.

Respondents may either use a mark box to indicate the country of birth or write the name of any other country in the text field. The majority of responses for Country of Birth of Person were captured automatically from the mark box response (84.4%). Written responses were coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes (15.2%). The remaining responses required manual coding processes when they could not be coded or derived automatically (0.4%).

In a small number of cases where country of birth was not stated, the category 'Born in Australia' was derived. This occurred when the person's father or mother was counted in the same dwelling and reported that they were born in Australia. If insufficient information was provided to derive a country response category, it remained as 'Not Stated'.

In 0.5% of pre-processed data, people had either marked more than one country or had marked a country and also gave a text response. In these cases, responses were accepted in the order they appeared on the form and the extra response was rejected.

During manual coding, if a country is not listed in the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016, then it is coded to 'Inadequately Described'. In 2016, 0.1% of data for Country of Birth of Person were coded to Inadequately Described.

Variable history

The question relating to Country of Birth of Person was first asked in the 1911 Census.

Prior to 2006, this variable was referred to as 'Birthplace' rather than 'Country of Birth'.

For the 2016 Census, changes to the birthplace question involved the inclusion of 'Philippines' in the list of mark boxes and the exclusion of 'Scotland'. The countries 'India', 'Vietnam' and 'Italy' were also repositioned. These changes were based on analysis of results from the 2011 Census.

Non-response rate

Item non-response rates are a measure of how many people did not respond to a particular question as a proportion of the total number of people the question was applicable to. In this instance the response is left as not stated.

The majority of item non-response is attributable to the people who did not respond to the Census at all. Refer to item non-response tables for more information. The second and smaller contributor to item non-response is when people return a Census form but may not answer a particular question(s). For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

The non-response rate for this variable was 6.9% (5.6% in 2011).

Further information

The countries are coded to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016.
A definition of Country of Birth of Person is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For related information on Country of Birth of Person, see data quality statements for Country of Birth of Mother, Country of Birth of Father and Country of Birth of Parents.

Household form question image

Question 12 as it appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:


A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.