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One, two or three, and four-digit codes are assigned to the first, second and third-level units of the classification respectively. The first digit identifies the Broad Group in which each Religious Group or Narrow Group is contained. The first two or three digits taken together identify the Narrow Group in which each Religious Group is contained. The four-digit codes represent the Religious Groups.
Reserved codes for residual categories
In each Narrow Group a four-digit code, consisting of the two or three digits of the Narrow Group code followed by the digits 99 or 9, is reserved as a residual or nec category. All Religious Groups which are not separately identified in the classification are notionally included in the residual or nec category of the Narrow Group to which they relate. The classification currently has eight residual categories at the base level for Narrow Groups where ABS experience indicates they are required.
Supplementary codes are used to process inadequately described responses in statistical collections. The codes are of three types:
Codes ending in zero are described as 'not further defined' (nfd) codes and are used to code responses to a question about religion which cannot be coded to the detailed (Religious Group) level of the classification but which can be coded to a higher level of the classification structure.
For example, responses which cannot be identified as relating directly to a particular Religious Group, but which are known to be within the range of religions relating to a particular Narrow Group, are coded to that Narrow group. Such responses are allocated an nfd code consisting of the two or three-digit code of the Narrow Group followed by 00 or 0. For instance, the response 'Orthodox' does not contain sufficient information to be coded directly to any particular Religious Group, but it can be coded to Narrow Group 223: Orthodox, which encompasses all Orthodox religions. It is thus allocated the code 2230: Orthodox, nfd.
Similarly, responses which do not contain sufficient information to be related directly to a particular Religious Group, or to a Narrow Group, but which are known to be within the range of religions relating to a particular Broad Group, are coded to that Broad Group. Such responses are allocated an nfd code consisting of the one-digit code of the Broad Group followed by 000. For instance, the response 'Christian' does not contain sufficient information to be related directly to a Religious Group or a Narrow Group, but it can be coded to Broad Group 2: Christianity, which encompasses all Christian religions. It is thus allocated the code 2000: Christianity, nfd.
Thus, religion responses which are only codable at the Broad or Narrow Group levels of the classification can be processed within a collection coded at the Religious Group level.
There are some cases where the classification structure would, in theory, support the creation of a supplementary nfd code not already included in the range of valid supplementary codes used by the ABS. For example, no nfd code has been created for Narrow Group 207, Catholic, as the response 'Catholic' is properly allocated to the category 2071, Western Catholic.
Four-digit codes commencing with 000 are supplementary codes included for operational purposes to facilitate the coding of responses such as inadequately described religious affiliation, etc., which present particular problems in that they cannot be allocated a Religious Group, Narrow Group or Broad Group code.
An additional supplementary code 2001: Apostolic Church, so described, has been created to meet a particular need. The Apostolic Church (Australia) is a separately identified Religious Group (2401) in the Narrow Group Pentecostal (24). The Apostolic Church of Queensland (2901) and the New Apostolic Church (2906) are separately identified Religious Groups in the Narrow Group, Other Christian (29). The response 'Apostolic Church' lacks sufficient information to code it to the appropriate Narrow Group. To code such a response to 'Christian, nfd' would be to discard useful information. The ABS has, therefore, created the special supplementary code, 'Apostolic Church, so described' to deal with such responses. The code 2001 is appropriate because any responses relating to it must necessarily lie within Broad Group 2: Christianity. For publication purposes, it is, of course, perfectly proper to aggregate data coded to categories 2000 and 2001 to provide a total for Christian, nfd.
It should be noted that supplementary codes, including 2001, are not part of the classification structure. They exist for operational reasons only, and no data would be coded to them if sufficiently detailed responses were obtained in all instances. (See: Appendix 1. Supplementary codes for a full list of the supplementary codes.)
Responses provided in statistical and administrative collections do not always relate directly to classification categories. A coding index is therefore necessary to act as a link between responses and the classification, enabling responses to be assigned accurately and quickly to the appropriate category of the classification.
In developing the Coding Index a number of rules were followed in assigning index entries the correct classification code. It is recommended that these rules be adhered to when coding any response that does not appear in the Coding Index provided. Decisions were made in regard to index entries on the basis of appropriate research and examination of pertinent reference material. The coding rules are as follows.