1269.0 - Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/08/2011   
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This document was added or updated on 05/08/2015.



The current version of the classification is based upon the Standard Australian Classification of Countries, Second Edition, Revision 1, 2011. The History of changes page details the changes that have been made since the release of the Second Edition, Revision 1, in August 2011.

The current version of the classification (along with its indexes and correspondences) is available in the data cube from the 'Downloads tab'.

The first edition of the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) was developed through extensive research and was published in 1998. The first edition had a number of revisions, with the final revision (R2.03) in 2007. The Second Edition of SACC was first published in 2008.

The SACC is the Australian statistical standard for social statistics classified by country and is intended for use in the collection, storage and dissemination of all Australian social statistical data classified by country.

The identification of country units in the classification, and the way in which they are grouped, does not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the ABS concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The ABS uses the SACC and promotes its use by other government agencies, private organisations, community groups, and individuals, where appropriate.

Geographic proximity

The classification is based on the concept of geographic proximity. In its structure, it groups neighbouring countries into progressively broader geographic areas on the basis of their similarities in social, cultural, economic and political characteristics.

Updating the classification

Periodically, world political change will result in a need to make amendments to this classification. The ABS will monitor the need for change and issue revisions to the SACC on a timely basis. Users are urged to implement changes to their systems only when the ABS issues the revisions.

Using the classification for population statistics

The classification is intended for use whenever demographic, labour and social statistics are classified by country. For example, the classification should be used when collecting, aggregating and disseminating data relating to characteristics such as birthplace, country of residence, country of origin, etc.


The term 'country' is used in the classification to describe the base-level units, even though not all of the units classified are fully independent countries.

The base-level units of the classification include:
  • Fully independent countries (sovereign nation states).
  • Administrative subdivisions of the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • External territories and dependencies of independent countries.

    These units are discrete geographic areas with varying degrees of political and economic autonomy. In general, they are physically isolated from the country to which they are dependent.

    For example, Falkland Islands and Martinique.
  • Units which are recognised geographic areas, the ownership or control of which is in dispute.

    For example, Gaza Strip and West Bank.
  • Residual categories ('not elsewhere classified' categories) comprising geographic areas which are not separately identified in the classification and which are not part of one of the separately identified base-level units.

    For example, 'Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nec', which contains a number of minor islands which are not part of any of the separately identified countries of the minor group 'Polynesia (excludes Hawaii)'.


The scope of the SACC is all countries, as defined above, currently existing in the world.

Most countries are separately identified in the classification, even though many of them are statistically insignificant in the Australian context.

A small number of geographic areas have not been separately identified but have been included in residual (not elsewhere classified) categories. Most of these entities have no permanent civilian population and are not significant in terms of social or economic statistics.

This comprehensive coverage makes the classification useful for a range of applications and increases its longevity.


It is the policy of the ABS and Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) to harmonise, where possible, our approaches to collecting statistics. During the development of the SACC, the ABS and SNZ were in close consultation. Although there are differences in the ethnic make-up and statistical requirements in the two countries, it was agreed that the SACC and the NZSCC should be as close to each other as is practical.

The two classifications have the following differences in country names:

New Zealand Standard Classification of CountriesStandard Australian Classification of Countries
New Zealand (includes Ross Dependency)New Zealand
Antarctica(Antarctica broken down into 7 areas)
Faeroe IslandsFaroe Islands
Vatican City StateHoly See
RussiaRussian Federation
Gaza Strip/Palestine/West BankGaza Strip and West Bank
MyanmarMyanmar, The Republic of the Union of
Viet NamVietnam
China, People's Republic ofChina (excludes SARs and Taiwan)
Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region)Hong Kong (SAR of China)
Macau (Special Administrative Region)Macau (SAR of China)
Korea, Democratic People's Republic ofKorea, Democratic People's Republic of (North)
Korea, RepublicKorea, Republic (South)
Congo, The Democratic Republic of theCongo, Democratic Republic of