Ancestry (ANCP, ANC1P, ANC2P)

A person's ancestry, when used in conjunction with the person's birthplace, language and religion, and whether the person's parents were born in Australia or overseas, provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. To analyse ancestry, both variables (Ancestry 1st Response (ANC1P) and Ancestry 2nd Response (ANC2P)) must be used. Further information about using ancestry data is provided below.

The non-response rate for this variable was 6.9% (8.1% in 2006). More information is available from the 2011 Census non-response quality statement.

Most of the data processed (81.9% for Ancestry 1 and 93.6% for Ancestry 2 (ANC2P) was captured automatically from mark box responses and the risk of introducing processing error using automatic mark box coding is considered minimal. The remaining responses, consisting mainly of written responses, were coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes (14.7% of ANC1P and 5.7% of ANC2P), and manual coding processes (3.3% of ANC1P and 0.7% for ANC2P). In a small proportion of cases (testing has shown that this is around 1.0%), respondents provided an incorrect number of responses. In these cases, responses were accepted in the order they appeared on the form and additional responses (below the first two) were ignored.

The Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG) Second Edition, Revision 1 was used to code data for ANC1P and ANC2P. The last revision of ASCCEG was in 2011. This revision was designed to maintain ASCCEG's relevance and usability and to provide a more comprehensive representation of cultural and ethnic groups in Australia. The review added one narrow group, Group 43 Peoples of the Sudan and 44 cultural and ethnic groups at the base level of the classification.

When completing their Census Form, some people provide responses which cannot be coded. In these instances, an 'Inadequately Described' code is allocated during processing. There was a reduction in these responses for ANC1P for 2011 (0.10%) compared to 2006 (0.12%) while the rate over the same period for ANC2P remained the same (0.03%).

There were minimal changes to the forms used to collect data in 2011, compared to the forms used in 2006. The changes for the ancestry question (question 18 on the Census Household Form), involved the repositioning of 'Italian', 'German', 'Chinese', and 'Scottish'. Also, respondents requiring further information to complete this question were instructed to refer to the 'Census Help' website rather than the 'Census Guide'. These changes to the form were the result of analysis of the 2006 Census.

A special note on using ancestry data

Respondents are asked to provide up to two ancestries only on the Census Form, but do not have the option of ranking their answers to the ancestry question, so where a respondent reports two ancestries, those two ancestries have equal standing during processing.

The basis for allocating ancestries for the two variables ANC1P and ANC2P is administrative only and is based on the order in which these variables are processed.

Considering this, for most purposes, it is recommended that users consider using the combined 'ANCP Multi-Response' variable when accessing information about ancestry. This separate variable combines all responses from 'ANC1P' and 'ANC2P' and therefore provides a more holistic view of responses provided on the Census Form than if Ancestry 1 and Ancestry 2 data was accessed and analysed independently.

Under the ANCP Multi-Response variable, if a respondent reported two ancestries, those two ancestries (ANC1P and ANC2P) were given equal standing. In cases where a respondent provided only one ancestry, ANC2P was simply recorded as 'Not Applicable'.

More information on ANCP, ANC1P and ANC2P is available in the 2011 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0)

Question 18 as it appeared on the 2011 Census Household Form

Image of question 18 from the 2011 Census
A text only version of this question is also available

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