1200.0.55.003 - Religious Affiliation Standard, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/08/2016   
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The Religious Affiliation Standard codifies the concepts, definitions, and methods recommended by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for collecting, processing and presenting quality statistics about the religious beliefs and practices to which people adhere or the religious groups to which they belong.

The Religious Affiliation variable is used by various sectors of Australian society, including religious organisations (for planning their services to members), health and aged care facilities, educational organisations, government agencies and in social research.

Religious Affiliation is considered sensitive information and answering a question about it is optional in all ABS collections (see section 14(3) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905).


This is the Religious Affiliation standard.


Nominal definition

Nominally, Religious Affiliation is defined as the religious or spiritual beliefs and practices to which a person adheres or the religious group to which a person belongs.

Operational definition

Operationally, Religious Affiliation is defined as the religion to which a person nominates they have an affiliation. This may include other spiritual beliefs or no religious or spiritual beliefs.


Religious Affiliation is self assessed. It is not designed to measure the level of adherence to beliefs or participation in practices common to the nominated religious affiliation.

To improve data quality, it is important to advise respondents that if they do not identify with a religion or spiritual belief, they may answer the question by selecting the 'No religion' option.