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A one digit code is assigned to each first level unit in the classification. A two digit code is assigned to each second level unit, and a four digit code is assigned to each third level (base level) unit.
Broad group level
The first level of the classification, the broad group level, comprises nine categories to provide a broad overall view of the geographic proximity of cultural and ethnic groups in terms of the location in which they originated or developed and are represented by one digit codes.
2 North-West European
3 Southern and Eastern European
4 North African and Middle Eastern
5 South-East Asian
6 North-East Asian
7 Southern and Central Asian
8 People of the Americas
9 Sub-Saharan African
Narrow group level
The second level of the classification, the narrow group level, provides increasingly detailed breakdowns of the broad groups.
The narrow groups are represented by a two digit code, the first digit indicating the broad group to which they belong. For example, within the Oceanian broad group (code 1), Australian Peoples is code 11, New Zealand Peoples is code 12, and Polynesian is 15, etc.
Cultural and Ethnic Group level
At the third and most detailed level, the cultural and ethnic groups are represented by a four digit code. The first two digits represent the broad and narrow groups to which they belong.
The cultural and ethnic groups: 1101 Australian, 1102 Australian Aboriginal, 1103 Australian South Sea Islander and 1104 Torres Strait islander, all fall within the Australian Peoples narrow group (code 11) and the Oceanian broad group (code 1).
11 Australian Peoples
1102 Australian Aboriginal
1103 Australian South Sea Islander
1104 Torres Strait islander
Adding cultural and ethnic groups to the classification
The cultural and ethnic profile of Australia is likely to change over time because of factors such as changing migration patterns. Therefore, it may be necessary from time to time, to add cultural and ethnic groups to, or delete cultural and ethnic groups from, those separately identified in the classification, as the number of people identifying with a particular cultural and ethnic group in Australia changes. ABS periodically reviews its classifications to take account of relevant changes.
If it becomes necessary to separately identify an additional cultural and ethnic group in the classification structure, it will be allocated the next available four digit code, in the numerical sequence of codes of the narrow group to which it is being added. The cultural and ethnic groups of each narrow group are in alphabetical order, with the exception of the residual 'not elsewhere classified' (nec) categories.
Separately identified cultural and ethnic groups are not allocated codes ending with the digits '0' or '9'. These are special purpose codes used to denote residual (nec) categories in the case of '9', and supplementary, not further defined (nfd) codes in the case of '0' (see; Codes for residual categories and Supplementary codes).
The ASCCEG code scheme is devised so that any future changes, to the classification structure, can be easily accommodated. However, in order that the classification remains a standard, users should not make arbitrary changes to the structure. Rather, they should contact the ABS and identify any apparent problems they encounter in the course of implementation, data collection, or data analysis.
Supplementary codes ending in zero
Codes ending in zero are described as 'not further defined' (nfd) codes and are used to code responses to a question about ancestry which cannot be accurately coded to the base (four digit cultural and ethnic group) level of the classification but which can be coded to a higher level (broad or narrow group) of the classification structure.
For example, responses which contain insufficient information to be assigned the code of a base level unit, but which are known to be within the range of cultural and ethnic groups relating to a particular narrow group, can be coded at that narrow group level. Such responses are allocated an 'nfd'. code consisting of the two digit code of the narrow group followed by '00'. For instance, the response 'Scandinavian' does not contain sufficient information to be coded directly to any specific base level unit, but it can be coded to Narrow Group 24, Northern European, which covers all the cultural and ethnic groups that are encompassed by the term 'Scandinavian'. It is thus allocated the 'nfd' code 2400, Northern European, nfd.
Similarly, responses which do not contain sufficient information to be coded to a specific cultural or ethnic group, or to a narrow group, but which are known to fall within the range of cultural and ethnic groups of a particular broad group, can be coded at the broad group level. Such responses are allocated an 'nfd'. code consisting of the single digit code of the broad group followed by '000'. For example, the response 'Celtic', does not contain sufficient information to be coded directly to any particular base level category or to a particular narrow group, but it can be coded to Broad Group 2, North-West European, as all Celtic cultural and ethnic groups originated and developed in North-West Europe. It is therefore allocated the 'nfd'. code 2000, North-West European, nfd.
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