2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Country of Birth of Mother (BPFP)

This variable indicates the country in which the respondent's mother was born. It is applicable to all persons.

How this variable is created

Country of Birth of Mother is a person variable that is created based on the response to the question of which country the person's mother was born. An image of this question is provided below.

Country of Birth of Mother is coded using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016.

Respondents may either use a mark box to indicate Australia or write the name of any other country in the text field. The majority of responses for Country of Birth of Mother were captured automatically from the mark box response (61.1%). Written responses were coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes (37.5%). The remaining responses required manual coding processes when they could not be coded or derived automatically (1.4%).

If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'. In 2016, 0.2% of data for Country of Birth of Mother were coded to 'Inadequately described'.

In 0.9% of pre-processed data, people marked Australia and also gave a text response. In these cases, responses were accepted in the order they appeared on the form and the extra response was rejected.

Variable history

A question relating to Country of Birth of Mother was first asked in the 1921 Census, but not included again until 1971 and has been included in all Australian Censuses from 1971.

Prior to the 2001 Census, respondents were asked to write in their mother's birthplace as a text response.

From 2001 to 2011, the question was simplified to a simple mark box with two options for either Australia or Overseas. This was done following the introduction of a question on a person's ancestry.

For the 2016 Census, the question format was changed to again allow respondents to provide details for the country of birth of their mother where it was not in Australia. Respondents were asked to use a mark box to respond for Australia, or a text field to specify any other country.

Over time the name of this variable has changed, but the meaning and the purpose of the question has remained the same.

    • 1971 - Birthplace of Parents (PBPP)
    • 1976 to 1986 - Birthplace of Mother (BPMP)
    • 1991 - Birthplace of Mother (BPFP)
    • 1996 - Birthplace of Mother (Female Parent) (BPFP)
    • 2001 - Birthplace of Female Parent (BPFP)
    • 2006 - Country of Birth of Mother (BPFP)
    • 2011 - Birthplace of Female Parent (BPFP)
    • 2016 - Country of Birth of Mother (BPFP)
For more information on this variable's history, see Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016.

Non-response rate

Item non-response rates are a measure of how many people did not respond to a particular question as a proportion of the total number of people the question was applicable to. In this instance the response is left as not stated.

The majority of item non-response is attributable to the people who did not respond to the Census at all. Refer to item non-response rates for more information. The second and smaller contributor to item non-response is when people return a Census form but may not answer a particular question(s). For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

The non-response rate for this variable was 6.7% in 2016 and (6.3% in 2011).

Further information

A definition for Country of Birth of Mother is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For more information on country classification, see the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016.
For further Country of Birth information, see the data quality statements for Country of Birth of Person (BPLP), Country of Birth of Father (BPMP), Country of Birth of Parents (BPPP)

Household form question image

Question 15 as it appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:

2016 Household Paper Form - Question 15. In which country was the person's mother born?

Question 15 as it appeared on the 2011 Census Household Paper Form:

2011 Household Paper Form - Question 15. Was the person's mother born in Australia or overseas?
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.