1269.0 - Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/09/1998   
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Contents >> Chapter 1. Introduction >> Review of the ASCCSS

Since its publication in 1990, the ASCCSS has been widely accepted and is regarded as serving its purposes well. However, a second edition was required for a number of reasons.

Three revision notices had been issued since the publication of the ASCCSS. These revisions needed to be consolidated within a single classification document for ease, consistency, and accuracy of use. It had become apparent to the ABS that not all users were aware of the revisions and were, therefore, using a non-standard structure.

The political changes arising from the breakup of the former USSR and the former Yugoslavia needed to be dealt with in a more fundamental way than the expedient methods used in the revision documents. For instance, the breakup of the former USSR was dealt with, in the short term, by changing the name of the classification group in which the former Soviet Republics were identified, in order to reflect their changed political status. A more appropriate classification of these new countries based on their geographic location and social, economic and cultural characteristics was required.

The ABS has also taken the opportunity arising from the need to deal with political change in eastern Europe to make a number of other changes to the main structure of the classification. The changes improve the statistical balance of the classification and make it more useful for the analysis of data. These benefits outweigh the relatively small impact the changes may have on data continuity.

In developing the main structure of the SACC, no change has been made to the underlying principles employed in developing the ASCCSS. The definition of the base-level units (countries), the scope of the classification, the three-level hierarchic structure, the classification criteria and their application, and the code scheme are all based on the principles used in the ASCCSS. The alternative groupings provided to extend the usefulness of the classification are based on different criteria than those used for the main geographically based structure.

Because of its geographic basis, the ASCCSS was not intended for classifying economic statistics by country. Although the individual countries in the SACC are identified in economic statistics, where significant, the geographic basis of the SACC remains less relevant for the presentation of economic statistics than for population statistics. For most economic statistics, the alternative political and economic groupings in the SACC will be used. The main structure of the SACC can, however, be adopted in some economic statistics, such as international merchandise trade.

In some instances, there is a need in economic statistics to use broader geographic groupings than provided in the SACC to give a geographic perspective while protecting the confidentiality of reported information. To cater for such cases, broader continental classification elements, such as Africa not elsewhere classified, are provided in Appendix 1 and can be used to derive continental aggregates. These are generally in line with international statistical practice and facilitate international comparison.

The SACC was developed by means of extensive research of Australian and overseas literature in the field of interest, use of principles and techniques relating to the development of statistical classifications, analysis of data relating to the birthplace profile of Australia (primarily data from the 1996 Census of Population and Housing), and by consideration of the requirements for the classification of statistics by country. This work was supported by information and advice from other government departments, such as the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, academics and other experts, and organisations that are significant producers or users of country data.

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