At the time the ASCCSS was developed, it was decided not to develop a single classification of countries that would be suitable for collecting and classifying both population and economic statistics. This decision was made because the criteria for grouping countries for economic statistics are often different from those required by users of population statistics.
However, consistency between country statistics for population and economic statistics is achieved by the inclusion of the following elements in the SACC:
- a standard set of country entities and country names;
- a set of standard alternative groupings of countries based on economic and political requirements. Such groupings include ASEAN, EU, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), etc. The alternative groupings are, in the main, conventional, internationally recognised associations or organisations of member countries or economies which serve economic and political purposes (see Alternative Standard Country Groupings for the full list of standard alternative groups and their composition);
- a supplementary list of categories that do not relate to countries, such as international institutions; ships stores; residual categories, for example, Africa, not elsewhere classified; and specific economic phenomena, such as debt issues in international capital markets, where the country dimension cannot be determined (see Appendix 1 for the full list of entities);
- the use in economic statistics of geographic aggregations that can be concorded to the major and minor groups of the SACC main structure; and
Consolidating both the standard geographically based classification and alternative standard country groups within a single classification document will add consistency to the collection, classification and output of country data across all applications. Producers of statistics will be able to present information in the most analytically useful form and the comparability of data across collections and fields of interest will thus be enhanced.
Although the groups relating to associations of member countries will be used mainly for the presentation of economic statistics, such as the value of exports to ASEAN countries, they can also be used for social statistics, to provide information such as the number of immigrants from ASEAN countries or the number of students from ASEAN countries studying in Australia. The geographically based main classification structure can be used to present economic statistics, where appropriate.
- a set of standard codes (main structure codes and supplementary codes) that can be concorded to the codes used in the reporting and storage of economic data.