1269.0 - Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (Revision 2.03)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/09/1998   
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Contents >> Chapter 1. Introduction >> Major changes from the ASCCSS

Political change in eastern Europe (particularly the breakup of the former USSR) has allowed a more stringent application of the classification criteria in Europe and surrounding areas such as the Middle East and parts of Asia. In particular, all countries can now be classified to the area of the world in which they are actually located. This, in concert with the advice of users and experts, improvements in statistical balance, and efforts to improve the practicality and usefulness of the classification has resulted in the changes to the ASCCSS detailed in the main classification structure of the SACC.

The changes can be summarised as follows:

      • The Australian States are no longer separately identified allowing Australia and its external territories to be consolidated in a single Minor Group: Australia (includes External Territories). The States have been allocated unique four-digit codes which are included in the list of supplementary codes (see Supplementary Codes and Appendix 1).
      • Europe has been split into two Major Groups: North-West Europe, and Southern and Eastern Europe. This division has been undertaken on the grounds of a more rigorous application of the classification criteria, practicality and usefulness, and improved statistical balance. An authorised standard output option to recreate Europe is provided (it is not part of the main classification structure) (see Authorised Standard Output Options, and Alternative Country Groupings).
      • The ASCCSS Minor Group United Kingdom and Ireland has been split into two SACC minor groups, within the Major Group North-West Europe, to allow for the separate identification of the United Kingdom (at the minor group level). Ireland becomes a single country minor group. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, though not technically part of the United Kingdom, have been included along with England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in the Minor Group United Kingdom, for reasons of practicality and to satisfy (most) users.
      • The new European countries created from former Soviet Republics (Moldova, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russian Federation and Ukraine) have been included in the Major Group Southern and Eastern Europe. All these countries are included in the Minor Group Eastern Europe with the exception of Moldova which is included in the Minor Group South Eastern Europe. The Russian Federation has been included in Europe, although much of it is geographically in Asia, because it is functionally a European country. European Russia contains a majority of the population and contains the seat of political and economic power.
      • The ASCCSS Major Group The Middle East and North Africa has been renamed North Africa and the Middle East in the SACC.
      • The new countries created from former Soviet Central Asian Republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) have been included in the Minor Group Central Asia within the Major Group Southern and Central Asia. The minor group also includes the new Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and Afghanistan. The Major Group Southern and Central Asia also includes the Minor Group Southern Asia which was a major group in the ASCCSS. Afghanistan has been moved from Southern Asia in the ASCCSS to Central Asia in the SACC.
      • The countries of South-East Asia have been split into two Minor Groups: Mainland South-East Asia and Maritime South-East Asia, because this is a region of countries of particular interest to Australia.
      • The countries of North-East Asia have been split into two Minor Groups: Chinese Asia (includes Mongolia) and Japan and the Koreas. The creation of a discrete group of Chinese countries is useful for a number of purposes.
      • The two ASCCSS Major Groups Northern America and South America, Central America and the Caribbean have been combined to form a single SACC Major Group: Americas.
      • Some minor changes to the names of countries have been made to conform to current naming conventions.


Continuity of data (the preservation of statistical time series) was noted as an important issue by many users consulted during the development of the SACC. The ABS acknowledges the importance of the continuation of time series for long-term analysis, continuity of policy making, etc. However, the need to update and improve the classification structure is imperative despite the potential for disrupting time series. In the interests of data comparability, the ABS urges users and providers of country data to collect, classify and disseminate data using the SACC from the time of its implementation. It is acknowledged that there will be many circumstances where users need to convert data to the old ASCCSS basis. Similarly, users may wish to convert historical data to the SACC. To facilitate this process, concordances between the main structures of the two editions are provided in Appendixes 2 and 3. Because, in most cases, the base-level units of the classification (countries) retain a one-to-one relationship between the ASCCSS and the SACC, the concordances are straightforward. The concordances itemise the code linkages between the countries, detail the links between the major groups and the minor groups, and indicate the movement of particular countries between groups in the two structures.

To further assist users to minimise the impact of the new classification on data continuity, the ABS has provided a number of authorised standard output groupings of countries for areas such as Europe, the former USSR, etc. (see Authorised Standard Output Options, and Alternative Country Groupings).

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