1200.0.55.004 - Country of Birth Standard, 2012, Version 1.0  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2012  First Issue
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Classification and Coding

The standard classification and the classification criteria

The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0) is used when collecting, aggregating and disseminating Country of Birth data.

Three classification criteria are used to form the categories of the classification structure:

      • the geographic proximity of countries
      • the similarity of countries in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics
      • the desirability that groups of countries lie within a single geographic continent.

The classification has a three level hierarchical structure:
      • the third and most detailed level of the classification consists of 255 base or third level units (countries). Included in the third level units are four 'not elsewhere classified' (nec) categories, containing entities that are not listed separately in the classification
      • the second level of the classification comprises 27 minor groups, which are groups of geographically proximate countries
      • the first and most general level of the classification comprises nine major groups, which are formed by aggregating geographically proximate minor groups.

The code structure

One, two and four digit codes are assigned to the first, second and third level units of the classification respectively. The first digit identifies the major group in which each minor group or country is contained. The first two digits taken together identify the minor group in which each country is contained. The four digit codes represent each of the countries.

The following example demonstrates the code structure for the countries included within the Minor Group Southern Europe, which is one of the three minor groups of the Major Group Southern and Eastern Europe.


        31 Southern Europe

        3101 Andorra
        3102 Gibraltar
        3103 Holy See
        3104 Italy
        3105 Malta
        3106 Portugal
        3107 San Marino
        3108 Spain

Residual categories and codes

Any geographic area within the region described by a minor group, which is not separately identified in the classification, can be included in the residual or 'not elsewhere classified' (nec) category. These 'nec' categories have codes ending with the digits '99'.

An example of a 'not elsewhere classified' (nec) category and code is:

          8299 South America, nec

Supplementary codes

Supplementary codes include 'not further defined' (nfd), 'inadequately described' and 'not stated' responses.

An example of a 'not further defined' category and code is:

          3100 - Southern Europe, not further defined (nfd)
Scope of the standard

The Country of Birth standard applies to all persons.

Application of the classification to other variables

The SACC can be used to classify other variables such as, Country of Residence, Country of Future Residence, Country of Citizenship, Country of Embarkation, Country of Disembarkation and Country of Last Residence.

Coding procedures

All Country of Birth responses are coded to the SACC (cat. no. 1269.0) using the guidelines detailed in that publication. Responses are matched with entries in the SACC coding index to determine the correct classification code.

Coding indexes

The SACC coding index is a comprehensive list of the most probable responses to questions relating to countries and their correct classification codes. It enables responses to be coded accurately.

For further details regarding the classification and coding, see the SACC (cat. no. 1269.0) on the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).