2901.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2016   
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A person’s ancestry, when used in conjunction with the person’s and their parents' countries of birth provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. Ancestry is particularly useful to identify distinct ethnic or cultural groups within Australia such as Maoris or Australian South Sea Islanders, and groups which are spread across countries such as Kurds or Indians. Country of birth alone cannot identify these groups. This information is essential in developing policies which reflect the needs of our society and for the effective delivery of services to particular ethnic communities.

Since the 2006 Census, two variables, Ancestry 1st Response (ANC1P) and Ancestry 2nd Response (ANC2P), have been used to record responses separately. The basis for allocating ancestries to the variables ANC1P and ANC2P is administrative only and is based solely on the order in which they are processed. Where respondents report more than two ancestries, only two are processed. The two ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) are combined into one variable, Ancestry Multi Response (ANCP).

The 2016 Census uses the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG), 2016 (cat. no. 1249.0) to classify responses given to the ancestry question.

The layout of the ancestry question has changed for the 2016 Census. There are now two distinct areas in which people can write in an ancestry, that is not one of the pick box ancestries. This change is to clarify responses and improve autocoding rates. In previous Censuses, when writing more than one ancestry in a single area, people tended to add marks such as backslashes or hyphens between them, which made the entries fail autocoding and left the intended answer unclear.

See also Birthplace, Country of birth, Indigenous Status (INGP), Language Spoken at Home (LANP), Proficiency in Spoken English (ENGP), Religious Affiliation (RELP), Year of Arrival in Australia (YARP).

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