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The Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) was developed in order to satisfy wide community interest in the religious affiliations of the Australian population, and to meet a growing statistical need. Religious affiliation provides a useful indicator of aspects of the cultural diversity of Australia's multicultural society.
The ASCRG is a National Statistical Standard and should be used for the production and dissemination of all official statistics on religion. Data classified by religious group can be used for policy and planning purposed related to the location and development of educational facilities and church buildings, the provision of aged persons' care facilities and services, and the provision of other social services by religious organisations. The ASCRG is a useful tool in general sociological research.
Generally, a religion is regarded as a set of beliefs and practices, usually involving acknowledgment of a divine or higher being or power, by which people order the conduct of their lives both practically and in a moral sense. Some of the entities included in the classification do not fit this definition, but are regarded, either universally or widely, as religions. For instance, Buddhism is universally accepted as a religion although it does not acknowledge a personal God. Such entities are included to ensure that the classification is comprehensive and useful, and to make the classification widely acceptable.
The ASCRG has a hierarchy consisting of three levels:
The seven Broad Groups of the classification are:
A coding index has been included in the publication to enable responses to be assigned accurately and quickly to the appropriate category of the classification. It contains a comprehensive list of the most probable responses to statistical and administrative questions relating to religions and their correct classification codes.
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 together identify the Narrow Group in which each Religious Group is contained. The four digit codes represent Religious Groups.
The following examples illustrate the coding scheme:
Further information may be obtained through the following products:
ASCRG release date:
ASCRG was released on 6 November 1996.