1266.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/07/2016   
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This document was added or updated on 28/03/2017.



Responses provided in statistical and administrative collections do not always precisely reflect 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.


The Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) coding index has been developed to assist in the implementation and use of the classification and should be used when coding responses to questions relating to religious affiliation and religious denomination. The coding index has been devised by reference to existing literature in the field, consultation with religious experts and ethnic and community groups, and by analysis of existing ABS data. It includes responses obtained in ABS statistical collections. It also contains a comprehensive list of the most probable responses to questions relating to religion and their correct classification codes.

The ASCRG coding index has been updated to reflect the changes made to the classification during the 2016 review. It may be requested by contacting standards@abs.gov.au.


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:

  • Responses which relate directly to a religious group category are coded to that religious group. Such instances include responses which are an exact match with the religious group category title, responses which are an exact match with the religious group category title except in terms of alternative spelling, the use of abbreviations, and responses which match the title in terms of the fundamental or basic words of the title and differ only in terms of qualifying or extraneous words.
  • Responses which relate directly to a religious group because they describe an entity which is one of a group of religions comprising the religious group, or a subset of the religious group (denomination, administrative or organisational grouping) are coded directly to that religious group.
  • Responses which cannot be identified as relating to a separately identified religious group in the classification are assigned a residual category code, or a supplementary code.