1289.0 - Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/11/1999   
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Contents >> Australian Citizenship >> Introduction

1. Australian Citizenship is the variable which describes whether or not people are Australian citizens.

2. A question on nationality was first asked in the 1921 Census of Population and Housing. Respondents were required to indicate of which nation they were subjects by means of birthplace, parentage or naturalisation. From 1933 to 1976, nationality was asked. From 1976, the question has used the term 'Citizenship'. In the 1981 Census, respondents were required to state their country of citizenship, whereas the 1986, 1991 and 1996 Census questions asked only whether the person was an Australian citizen.

3. Australian citizenship data for smaller geographic areas such as Collection Districts (CDs) or Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) are only available from the Census. Citizenship data at these lower geographic levels is regarded as essential by organisations such as the Australian Electoral Commission, various state electoral commissions and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA). Small area data on Australian citizenship enables the tracking of migration patterns of Australian citizens over time, gives an accurate indication of what proportion of the population is on the electoral roll and, from this latter information, enables electoral boundary redistribution.

4. Australian citizenship data is also collected for the purpose of assessing the number of people who are not Australian citizens but who may be residentially eligible to apply for citizenship.

5. Although Australian Citizenship is not directly related to any other variable, it can be used in conjunction with other "Ethnicity" variables, for example, Country of Birth of Person and Year of Arrival in Australia. This is because Australian Citizenship, for those born overseas, is an indirect measure of participation in Australian society.

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