The ABS is Australia's official statistical agency. It provides statistics on a wide range of economic and social matters, covering government, business and the population in general. It also has an important co-ordination function with respect to the statistical activities of other official bodies.
This guide provides an introduction to the major ABS classifications developed and/or utilised by the ABS. Since the last published guide there have been significant developments across the spectrum of social, industry and commodity classifications and new classifications have been developed replacing many that were referred to in the 1991 edition.
This guide outlines the structure and purpose of each of the main currently used ABS major classifications and the statistical units to which the classifications apply. Statistical units in general are the units of observation in a statistical series, ie the basic entities about which data are recorded and which are then classified and aggregated to provide the official statistics. Examples of statistical units include businesses, farms, motor vehicles, building sites, persons, households and families.
Apart from the major classifications described in this guide, many other classifications are used by the ABS. Some have been developed jointly with other agencies and others taken directly from international use (e.g. the Standard International Trade Classification produced by the United Nations). A listing of other important classifications used, together with the name and telephone number of a contact officer, is provided in the Appendix.
This publication can be viewed at the ABS Statsite on the Internet at https://www.abs.gov.au.