Cultural diversity

Mnemonic Variable Release 
ANC1PAncestry 1st response June 2022
ANC2PAncestry 2nd response June 2022
ANCPAncestry multi responseJune 2022
ANCRPAncestry one or two response indicatorJune 2022New
BPFPCountry of birth of motherJune 2022
BPLPCountry of birth of personJune 2022
BPMPCountry of birth of fatherJune 2022
BPPPCountry of birth of parentsJune 2022
CITPAustralian citizenshipJune 2022
ENGLPProficiency in spoken EnglishJune 2022
LANPLanguage used at homeJune 2022
RELPReligious affiliationJune 2022
YARPYear of arrival in AustraliaJune 2022
YARRPYear of arrival in Australia (ranges) June 2022

Ancestry 1st response (ANC1P)

Definition

This variable indicates how a person identifies their ancestry. Respondents are able to provide up to two responses. The first ancestry provided is output into Ancestry 1st response (ANC1P).  

See also: Ancestry 2nd response (ANC2P), Ancestry multi response (ANCP)

Scope

All persons

Categories

Ancestry is coded using the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG), 2019. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page. 

1 Oceanian 

1OCEANIAN  
 10Oceanian, nfd 
  1000Oceanian, nfd
 11Australian Peoples
  1100Australian Peoples, nfd
  1101Australian
  1102Australian Aboriginal
  1103Australian South Sea Islander
  1104Torres Strait Islander
  1105Norfolk Islander
 12New Zealand Peoples
  1200New Zealand Peoples, nfd
  1201Maori
  1202New Zealander
 13Melanesian and Papuan
  1300Melanesian and Papuan, nfd
  1301New Caledonian
  1302Ni-Vanuatu
  1303Papua New Guinean
  1304Solomon Islander
  1399Melanesian and Papuan, nec
 14Micronesian
  1400Micronesian, nfd
  1401I-Kiribati
  1402Nauruan
  1499Micronesian, nec
 15Polynesian
  1500Polynesian, nfd
  1501Cook Islander
  1502Fijian
  1503Niuean
  1504Samoan
  1505Tongan
  1506Hawaiian
  1507Tahitian
  1508Tokelauan
  1511Tuvaluan
  1512Pitcairn
  1599Polynesian, nec

2 North-West European

2NORTH-WEST EUROPEAN
 20North-West European, nfd 
  2000North-West European, nfd
 21British 
  2100British, nfd
  2101English
  2102Scottish
  2103Welsh
  2104Channel Islander
  2105Manx
  2199British, nec
 22Irish 
  2201Irish
 23Western European
  2300Western European, nfd
  2301Austrian
  2303Dutch
  2304Flemish
  2305French
  2306German
  2307Swiss
  2311Belgian
  2312Frisian
  2313Luxembourg
  2399Western European, nec
 24Northern European
  2400Northern European, nfd
  2401Danish
  2402Finnish
  2403Icelandic
  2404Norwegian
  2405Swedish
  2499Northern European, nec

3 Southern and Eastern European

3SOUTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN
 30Southern and Eastern European, nfd
  3000Southern and Eastern European, nfd
 31Southern European
  3100Southern European, nfd
  3101Basque
  3102Catalan
  3103Italian
  3104Maltese
  3105Portuguese
  3106Spanish
  3107Gibraltarian
  3199Southern European, nec
 32South Eastern European
  3200South Eastern European, nfd
  3201Albanian
  3202Bosnian
  3203Bulgarian
  3204Croatian
  3205Greek
  3206Macedonian
  3207Moldovan
  3208Montenegrin
  3211Romanian
  3212Roma Gypsy
  3213Serbian
  3214Slovene
  3215Cypriot
  3216Vlach
  3299South Eastern European, nec
 33Eastern European
  3300Eastern European, nfd
  3301Belarusan
  3302Czech
  3303Estonian
  3304Hungarian
  3305Latvian
  3306Lithuanian
  3307Polish
  3308Russian
  3311Slovak
  3312Ukrainian
  3313Sorb/Wend
  3399Eastern European, nec

4 North-African and Middle Eastern

4NORTH AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN
 40North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
  4000North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
 41Arab 
  4100Arab, nfd
  4101Algerian
  4102Egyptian
  4103Iraqi
  4104Jordanian
  4105Kuwaiti
  4106Lebanese
  4107Libyan
  4108Moroccan
  4111Palestinian
  4112Saudi Arabian
  4113Syrian
  4114Tunisian
  4115Yemeni
  4116Bahraini
  4117Emirati
  4118Omani
  4121Qatari
  4199Arab, nec
 42Jewish 
  4201Jewish
 43Peoples of the Sudan
  4300Peoples of the Sudan, nfd
  4301Bari
  4302Darfur
  4303Dinka 
  4304Nuer
  4305South Sudanese
  4306Sudanese
  4399Peoples of the Sudan, nec
 49Other North African and Middle Eastern
  4900Other North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
  4902Berber
  4903Coptic
  4904Iranian
  4905Kurdish
  4907Turkish
  4908Assyrian
  4911Chaldean
  4912Mandaean
  4913Nubian 
  4914Yezidi
  4999Other North African and Middle Eastern, nec

5 South-East Asian

5SOUTH-EAST ASIAN 
 50South-East Asian, nfd
  5000South-East Asian, nfd
 51Mainland South-East Asian
  5100Mainland South-East Asian, nfd
  5101Anglo-Burmese
  5102Burmese
  5103Hmong
  5104Khmer (Cambodian)
  5105Lao
  5106Thai
  5107Vietnamese
  5108Karen
  5111Mon
  5112Chin
  5113Rohingya
  5199Mainland South-East Asian, nec
 52Maritime South-East Asian
  5200Maritime South-East Asian, nfd
  5201Filipino
  5202Indonesian
  5203Javanese
  5204Madurese
  5205Malay
  5206Sundanese
  5207Timorese
  5208Acehnese
  5211Balinese
  5212Bruneian
  5213Kadazan
  5214Singaporean
  5215Temoq
  5299Maritime South-East Asian, nec

6 North-East Asian

6NORTH-EAST ASIAN 
 60North-East Asian, nfd
  6000North-East Asian, nfd
 61Chinese Asian
  6100Chinese Asian, nfd
  6101Chinese
  6102Taiwanese
  6199Chinese Asian, nec
 69Other North-East Asian
  6900Other North-East Asian, nfd
  6901Japanese
  6902Korean
  6903Mongolian
  6904Tibetan
  6999Other North-East Asian, nec

7 Southern and Central Asian

7SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL ASIAN
 70Southern and Central Asian, nfd
  7000Southern and Central Asian, nfd
 71Southern Asian
  7100Southern Asian, nfd
  7101Anglo-Indian
  7102Bengali
  7103Burgher
  7104Gujarati
  7106Indian
  7107Malayali
  7111Nepalese
  7112Pakistani
  7113Punjabi
  7114Sikh
  7115Sinhalese
  7117Maldivian
  7118Bangladeshi
  7121Bhutanese
  7122Fijian Indian 
  7123Kashmiri
  7124Parsi
  7125Sindhi
  7126Sri Lankan
  7127Sri Lankan Tamil
  7128Indian Tamil 
  7131Tamil, nfd
  7132Telugu
  7199Southern Asian, nec
 72Central Asian
  7200Central Asian, nfd
  7201Afghan
  7202Armenian
  7203Georgian
  7204Kazakh
  7205Pathan
  7206Uzbek
  7207Azeri
  7208Hazara
  7211Tajik
  7212Tatar
  7213Turkmen
  7214Uighur
  7215Kyrgyz
  7299Central Asian, nec

8 Peoples of the Americas

8PEOPLES OF THE AMERICAS
 80Peoples of the Americas, nfd
  8000Peoples of the Americas, nfd
 81North American
  8100North American, nfd
  8101African American
  8102American
  8103Canadian
  8104French Canadian
  8105Hispanic North American
  8106Native North American Indian
  8107Bermudan
  8199North American, nec
 82South American
  8200South American, nfd
  8201Argentinian
  8202Bolivian
  8203Brazilian
  8204Chilean
  8205Colombian
  8206Ecuadorian
  8207Guyanese
  8208Peruvian
  8211Uruguayan
  8212Venezuelan
  8213Paraguayan
  8299South American, nec
 83Central American
  8300Central American, nfd
  8301Mexican
  8302Nicaraguan
  8303Salvadoran
  8304Costa Rican
  8305Guatemalan
  8306Mayan
  8399Central American, nec
 84Caribbean Islander
  8400Caribbean Islander, nfd
  8401Cuban
  8402Jamaican
  8403Trinidadian Tobagonian
  8404Barbadian
  8405Puerto Rican
  8499Caribbean Islander, nec

9 Sub-Saharan African

9SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN
 90Sub-Saharan African, nfd
  9000Sub-Saharan African, nfd
 91Central and West African
  9100Central and West African, nfd
  9101Akan
  9102Fulani
  9103Ghanaian
  9104Nigerian
  9105Yoruba
  9106Ivorean
  9107Liberian
  9108Sierra Leonean
  9111Acholi
  9112Cameroonian
  9113Congolese
  9114Gio
  9115Igbo
  9116Krahn
  9117Mandinka
  9118Senegalese
  9121Themne
  9122Togolese
  9199Central and West African, nec
 92Southern and East African
  9200Southern and East African, nfd
  9201Afrikaner
  9202Angolan
  9203Eritrean
  9204Ethiopian
  9205Kenyan
  9206Malawian
  9207Mauritian
  9208Mozambican
  9211Namibian
  9212Oromo
  9213Seychellois
  9214Somali
  9215South African
  9216Tanzanian
  9217Ugandan
  9218Zambian
  9221Zimbabwean
  9222Amhara
  9223Batswana
  9225Hutu
  9226Masai
  9228Tigrayan
  9231Tigre
  9232Zulu
  9233Burundian
  9234Kunama
  9235Madi
  9236Ogaden
  9237Rwandan
  9238Shona
  9241Swahili
  9242Swazilander
  9299Southern and East African, nec

Supplementary codes

0SUPPLEMENTARY CODES
 00Inadequately described
  0000Inadequately described
 09So described, nfd
  0901Eurasian, so described
  0902Asian, so described
  0903African, so described
  0904European, so described
  0905Caucasian, so described
  0906Creole, so described
&Not stated  
 &&Not stated 
  &&&&Not stated
VOverseas visitor 
 VVOverseas visitor
  VVVVOverseas visitor

Number of categories: 

  • One-digit level: 12
  • Two-digit level: 41     
  • Four-digit level: 321

Question(s) from the Census form

What is the person’s ancestry?

What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

Person's ancestry

English

Irish

Scottish

Chinese

Italian

German

Aboriginal

Torres Strait Islander

Australian

Other ancestry 1 (please specify)

Other ancestry 2 (please specify)

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

If more than two ancestries apply, provide the two ancestries the person most closely identifies with.

If you are unclear about what ancestry you should include, consider the ethnic or cultural origins of the person's parents and/or grandparents as a guide.

If the person is a Pacific Islander, report their ancestry as accurately as possible, for example, Samoan, Tongan or Cook Islander.

If the person is a descendant of South Sea Islanders brought to Australia as labourers at the turn of the twentieth century, please answer ‘Australian South Sea Islander’.

For ancestries not listed, please select the 'Other ancestry 1 (please specify)' option and enter the name of the ancestry in the box and, if needed, 'Other ancestry 2 (please specify)'.

How this variable is created

The three ancestry variables are created from responses to the ancestry question on the Census form. The allocation of ancestries to the variables ANC1P and ANC2P are administrative only and based on the order in which the responses are processed. These two ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) are combined into one variable, ANCP.

Respondents can select their ancestry by using the mark boxes, and/or the write in response boxes.  The most common ancestry responses from the 2016 Census are the mark box options on the 2021 Census form, with the addition of separate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mark boxes.  Most responses for ancestry are captured in the mark box responses, but overall, the following scenarios apply:

Written responses are first coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding. The remaining responses require manual coding.

  • Where respondents report more than two ancestries, only two are processed.
  • Where only one ancestry was provided, ANC2P is recorded as ‘Not applicable’.
  • Ancestry is coded using the ASCCEG. If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

History and changes

Ancestry was first included as a question in the 1986 Census. The aim of the question was to measure the ethnic composition of the population, but it did not perform as expected for this purpose as there was a high level of subjectivity and lack of clarity about what the question meant. Consequently, ancestry was not included in either the 1991 or 1996 Censuses.

In 2001, the question was asked again with instructions to 'Provide more than one ancestry if necessary', and to consider their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.

For the 2006 and 2011 Censuses, respondents were asked to mark the ancestries they most closely identified with and to consider their ancestry back as far as two generations (i.e. their parents and grandparents). Respondents were asked to report at least one ancestry, but no more than two ancestries.

For the 2016 Census the format of the ancestry question was revised to provide two distinct text response areas for separate written ancestry responses. This change aimed to clarify responses and improve autocoding rates.

The 2021 Census includes mark boxes for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestries.  It is expected these additional mark boxes will result in less people checking the ‘Australian’ mark box, and instead choosing to specify Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestries. For people completing the Census online and who identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, the new response categories were presented at the top of the list.

For 2021, the order of the response categories has been updated based on frequency of reporting in the 2016 Census:

  • ‘Italian’ moved from 3rd position to 5th position
  • ‘German’ moved from 5th position to 6th position
  • ‘Chinese’ moved from 6th position to 4th position

As with previous censuses, 'Australian' is placed as the last option for selection - prior to the text entry boxes for 'Other ancestry/s' - to encourage reporting of non-Australian ancestries where relevant.

For 2021, the other examples in the instructional text were updated.

For 2021, Norfolk Islander (code 1105) has been added in the updated classification to capture an ancestry reported by Norfolk Island residents following Norfolk Island’s inclusion in the Australian Census of Population and Housing for the first time in 2016.

Data use considerations

Ancestry can be related to the place a person or their parents or grandparents were born or the cultural group they most identify with. For example, a person may have been born in Australia, but they have Papua New Guinean ancestry. This helps us understand our diverse culture.

To accurately understand ancestry data, both ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) must be used. There are two ancestry variables because Census respondents are able to report up to two ancestries in their response to the question on ancestry. Respondents do not have the option of ranking their answers to the ancestry question, so where a respondent reports two ancestries, they have equal standing. The basis for allocating ancestries to the variables ANC1P and ANC2P is based on the order in which they are processed. These two ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) are combined into one variable ANCP.

Ethnicity

The ancestry variables provide a self-assessed measure of ethnicity and cultural background, which, when used in conjunction with the person’s and their parents' countries of birth provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. Ancestry in the Australian context is complex as there are many Australians with origins and heritage that do not, in practice, relate to their current ethnic identity.  When ancestry data is used alone, it should only be done to represent a broad measure of cultural diversity.  Ancestry is particularly useful to identify distinct ethnic or cultural groups within Australia such as Maoris or Australian South Sea Islanders, and groups which are spread across countries such as Kurds. Surrogate measures of ethnicity such as country of birth or languages other than English spoken at home, alone cannot identify these groups. This information is useful in developing policies which reflect the needs of our society and for the effective delivery of services to particular ethnic communities.

Ancestry multi response - counting people or responses

When ANCP is added to a table and all the individual ancestries are summed together, a total count of responses, not people, is produced. This is because each person can provide up to two ancestries. So the total count of responses for all ancestries in Australia exceeds Australia’s total population. However, when using ANCP to look at individual ancestries, the count of responses is also the count of people. This is because respondents can only state a particular ancestry once (either as ANC1P or ANC2P).

Measurement issues

The ancestry question records all claims of association with ancestries, ethnic origins and cultures.  Whilst some people may respond according to how they may identify with a particular cultural group (subjectively), the intent of the question is to capture the cultural context in which they were raised (objectively).  Multiple responses are encouraged. Responses to the ancestry question are coded to the ASCCEG. The classification is not intended to classify people, but rather all claims of association with an ethnic origin or cultural group, i.e. one ancestry response is not equal to one person. Many people do not relate to a single ethnic origin or cultural group and will give multiple responses to a question on ancestry, ethnicity or cultural identity. The ABS has developed guidelines for the coding, storage and presentation of multiple responses to questions on ancestry, ethnicity or cultural identity data. These guidelines are included in the ASCCEG publication.

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Ancestry multi response (ANCP)
  • Ancestry 2nd response (ANC2P)
  • Ancestry one or two response indicator (ANCRP)
  • Birthplace of mother (BPFP)
  • Birthplace of father (BPMP)
  • Indigenous status (INGP)

Data downloads

Ancestry first response classification

Ancestry 2nd response (ANC2P)

Definition

This variable indicates how a person identifies their ancestry. Respondents are able to provide up to two responses. The second ancestry provided is output into Ancestry 2nd response (ANC2P).  

See also: Ancestry 1st response (ANC1P), Ancestry multi response (ANCP)

Scope

All persons

Categories

Ancestry is coded using the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG), 2019. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page. 

1 Oceanian 

1OCEANIAN  
 10Oceanian, nfd 
  1000Oceanian, nfd
 11Australian Peoples
  1100Australian Peoples, nfd
  1101Australian
  1102Australian Aboriginal
  1103Australian South Sea Islander
  1104Torres Strait Islander
  1105Norfolk Islander
 12New Zealand Peoples
  1200New Zealand Peoples, nfd
  1201Maori
  1202New Zealander
 13Melanesian and Papuan
  1300Melanesian and Papuan, nfd
  1301New Caledonian
  1302Ni-Vanuatu
  1303Papua New Guinean
  1304Solomon Islander
  1399Melanesian and Papuan, nec
 14Micronesian
  1400Micronesian, nfd
  1401I-Kiribati
  1402Nauruan
  1499Micronesian, nec
 15Polynesian
  1500Polynesian, nfd
  1501Cook Islander
  1502Fijian
  1503Niuean
  1504Samoan
  1505Tongan
  1506Hawaiian
  1507Tahitian
  1508Tokelauan
  1511Tuvaluan
  1512Pitcairn
  1599Polynesian, nec

2 North-West European

2NORTH-WEST EUROPEAN
 20North-West European, nfd 
  2000North-West European, nfd
 21British 
  2100British, nfd
  2101English
  2102Scottish
  2103Welsh
  2104Channel Islander
  2105Manx
  2199British, nec
 22Irish 
  2201Irish
 23Western European
  2300Western European, nfd
  2301Austrian
  2303Dutch
  2304Flemish
  2305French
  2306German
  2307Swiss
  2311Belgian
  2312Frisian
  2313Luxembourg
  2399Western European, nec
 24Northern European
  2400Northern European, nfd
  2401Danish
  2402Finnish
  2403Icelandic
  2404Norwegian
  2405Swedish
  2499Northern European, nec

3 Southern and Eastern European

3SOUTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN
 30Southern and Eastern European, nfd
  3000Southern and Eastern European, nfd
 31Southern European
  3100Southern European, nfd
  3101Basque
  3102Catalan
  3103Italian
  3104Maltese
  3105Portuguese
  3106Spanish
  3107Gibraltarian
  3199Southern European, nec
 32South Eastern European
  3200South Eastern European, nfd
  3201Albanian
  3202Bosnian
  3203Bulgarian
  3204Croatian
  3205Greek
  3206Macedonian
  3207Moldovan
  3208Montenegrin
  3211Romanian
  3212Roma Gypsy
  3213Serbian
  3214Slovene
  3215Cypriot
  3216Vlach
  3299South Eastern European, nec
 33Eastern European
  3300Eastern European, nfd
  3301Belarusan
  3302Czech
  3303Estonian
  3304Hungarian
  3305Latvian
  3306Lithuanian
  3307Polish
  3308Russian
  3311Slovak
  3312Ukrainian
  3313Sorb/Wend
  3399Eastern European, nec

4 North-African and Middle Eastern

4NORTH AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN
 40North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
  4000North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
 41Arab 
  4100Arab, nfd
  4101Algerian
  4102Egyptian
  4103Iraqi
  4104Jordanian
  4105Kuwaiti
  4106Lebanese
  4107Libyan
  4108Moroccan
  4111Palestinian
  4112Saudi Arabian
  4113Syrian
  4114Tunisian
  4115Yemeni
  4116Bahraini
  4117Emirati
  4118Omani
  4121Qatari
  4199Arab, nec
 42Jewish 
  4201Jewish
 43Peoples of the Sudan
  4300Peoples of the Sudan, nfd
  4301Bari
  4302Darfur
  4303Dinka 
  4304Nuer
  4305South Sudanese
  4306Sudanese
  4399Peoples of the Sudan, nec
 49Other North African and Middle Eastern
  4900Other North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
  4902Berber
  4903Coptic
  4904Iranian
  4905Kurdish
  4907Turkish
  4908Assyrian
  4911Chaldean
  4912Mandaean
  4913Nubian 
  4914Yezidi
  4999Other North African and Middle Eastern, nec

5 South-East Asian

5SOUTH-EAST ASIAN 
 50South-East Asian, nfd
  5000South-East Asian, nfd
 51Mainland South-East Asian
  5100Mainland South-East Asian, nfd
  5101Anglo-Burmese
  5102Burmese
  5103Hmong
  5104Khmer (Cambodian)
  5105Lao
  5106Thai
  5107Vietnamese
  5108Karen
  5111Mon
  5112Chin
  5113Rohingya
  5199Mainland South-East Asian, nec
 52Maritime South-East Asian
  5200Maritime South-East Asian, nfd
  5201Filipino
  5202Indonesian
  5203Javanese
  5204Madurese
  5205Malay
  5206Sundanese
  5207Timorese
  5208Acehnese
  5211Balinese
  5212Bruneian
  5213Kadazan
  5214Singaporean
  5215Temoq
  5299Maritime South-East Asian, nec

6 North-East Asian

6NORTH-EAST ASIAN 
 60North-East Asian, nfd
  6000North-East Asian, nfd
 61Chinese Asian
  6100Chinese Asian, nfd
  6101Chinese
  6102Taiwanese
  6199Chinese Asian, nec
 69Other North-East Asian
  6900Other North-East Asian, nfd
  6901Japanese
  6902Korean
  6903Mongolian
  6904Tibetan
  6999Other North-East Asian, nec

7 Southern and Central Asian

7SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL ASIAN
 70Southern and Central Asian, nfd
  7000Southern and Central Asian, nfd
 71Southern Asian
  7100Southern Asian, nfd
  7101Anglo-Indian
  7102Bengali
  7103Burgher
  7104Gujarati
  7106Indian
  7107Malayali
  7111Nepalese
  7112Pakistani
  7113Punjabi
  7114Sikh
  7115Sinhalese
  7117Maldivian
  7118Bangladeshi
  7121Bhutanese
  7122Fijian Indian 
  7123Kashmiri
  7124Parsi
  7125Sindhi
  7126Sri Lankan
  7127Sri Lankan Tamil
  7128Indian Tamil 
  7131Tamil, nfd
  7132Telugu
  7199Southern Asian, nec
 72Central Asian
  7200Central Asian, nfd
  7201Afghan
  7202Armenian
  7203Georgian
  7204Kazakh
  7205Pathan
  7206Uzbek
  7207Azeri
  7208Hazara
  7211Tajik
  7212Tatar
  7213Turkmen
  7214Uighur
  7215Kyrgyz
  7299Central Asian, nec

8 Peoples of the Americas

8PEOPLES OF THE AMERICAS
 80Peoples of the Americas, nfd
  8000Peoples of the Americas, nfd
 81North American
  8100North American, nfd
  8101African American
  8102American
  8103Canadian
  8104French Canadian
  8105Hispanic North American
  8106Native North American Indian
  8107Bermudan
  8199North American, nec
 82South American
  8200South American, nfd
  8201Argentinian
  8202Bolivian
  8203Brazilian
  8204Chilean
  8205Colombian
  8206Ecuadorian
  8207Guyanese
  8208Peruvian
  8211Uruguayan
  8212Venezuelan
  8213Paraguayan
  8299South American, nec
 83Central American
  8300Central American, nfd
  8301Mexican
  8302Nicaraguan
  8303Salvadoran
  8304Costa Rican
  8305Guatemalan
  8306Mayan
  8399Central American, nec
 84Caribbean Islander
  8400Caribbean Islander, nfd
  8401Cuban
  8402Jamaican
  8403Trinidadian Tobagonian
  8404Barbadian
  8405Puerto Rican
  8499Caribbean Islander, nec

9 Sub-Saharan African

9SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN
 90Sub-Saharan African, nfd
  9000Sub-Saharan African, nfd
 91Central and West African
  9100Central and West African, nfd
  9101Akan
  9102Fulani
  9103Ghanaian
  9104Nigerian
  9105Yoruba
  9106Ivorean
  9107Liberian
  9108Sierra Leonean
  9111Acholi
  9112Cameroonian
  9113Congolese
  9114Gio
  9115Igbo
  9116Krahn
  9117Mandinka
  9118Senegalese
  9121Themne
  9122Togolese
  9199Central and West African, nec
 92Southern and East African
  9200Southern and East African, nfd
  9201Afrikaner
  9202Angolan
  9203Eritrean
  9204Ethiopian
  9205Kenyan
  9206Malawian
  9207Mauritian
  9208Mozambican
  9211Namibian
  9212Oromo
  9213Seychellois
  9214Somali
  9215South African
  9216Tanzanian
  9217Ugandan
  9218Zambian
  9221Zimbabwean
  9222Amhara
  9223Batswana
  9225Hutu
  9226Masai
  9228Tigrayan
  9231Tigre
  9232Zulu
  9233Burundian
  9234Kunama
  9235Madi
  9236Ogaden
  9237Rwandan
  9238Shona
  9241Swahili
  9242Swazilander
  9299Southern and East African, nec

Supplementary codes

0SUPPLEMENTARY CODES
 00Inadequately described
  0000Inadequately described
 09So described, nfd
  0901Eurasian, so described
  0902Asian, so described
  0903African, so described
  0904European, so described
  0905Caucasian, so described
  0906Creole, so described
@Not applicable 
 @@Not applicable
   @@@@Not applicable
VOverseas visitor 
 VVOverseas visitor
  VVVVOverseas visitor

Not applicable (@@@@) comprises:

  • Persons who provided a first ancestry but did not provide a second
  • ANC1P not stated

ANC2P does not have a ‘Not stated’ category. People who did not answer the ancestry question are included in ‘Not applicable’.

Number of categories: 

  • One-digit level: 12
  • Two-digit level: 41
  • Four-digit level: 321

Question(s) from the Census form

What is the person’s ancestry?

What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

Person's ancestry

English

Irish

Scottish

Chinese

Italian

German

Aboriginal

Torres Strait Islander

Australian

Other ancestry 1 (please specify)

Other ancestry 2 (please specify)

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

If more than two ancestries apply, provide the two ancestries the person most closely identifies with.

If you are unclear about what ancestry you should include, consider the ethnic or cultural origins of the person's parents and/or grandparents as a guide.

If the person is a Pacific Islander, report their ancestry as accurately as possible, for example, Samoan, Tongan or Cook Islander.

If the person is a descendant of South Sea Islanders brought to Australia as labourers at the turn of the twentieth century, please answer ‘Australian South Sea Islander’.

For ancestries not listed, please select the 'Other ancestry 1 (please specify)' option and enter the name of the ancestry in the box and, if needed, 'Other ancestry 2 (please specify)'.

How this variable is created

This variable is created from responses to the ancestry question on the Census form. The allocation of ancestries is administrative only and based on the order in which the responses are processed.

Respondents can select their ancestry by using the mark boxes, and/or the write in response boxes.  The most common ancestry responses from the 2016 Census are the mark box options on the 2021 Census form, with the addition of separate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mark boxes.  Most responses for ancestry are captured in the mark box responses, but overall, the following scenarios apply:

  • Written responses are first coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding. The remaining responses require manual coding.
  • Where respondents report more than two ancestries, only two are processed.
  • Where only one ancestry was provided, ANC2P is recorded as ‘Not applicable’.
  • Ancestry is coded using the ASCCEG. If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

History and changes

Ancestry was first included as a question in the 1986 Census. The aim of the question was to measure the ethnic composition of the population, but it did not perform as expected for this purpose as there was a high level of subjectivity and lack of clarity about what the question meant. Consequently, ancestry was not included in either the 1991 or 1996 Censuses.

In 2001, the question was asked again with instructions to 'Provide more than one ancestry if necessary', and to consider their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.

For the 2006 and 2011 Censuses, respondents were asked to mark the ancestries they most closely identified with and to consider their ancestry back as far as two generations (i.e. their parents and grandparents). Respondents were asked to report at least one ancestry, but no more than two ancestries.

For the 2016 Census the format of the ancestry question was revised to provide two distinct text response areas for separate written ancestry responses. This change aimed to clarify responses and improve autocoding rates.

The 2021 Census includes mark boxes for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestries.  It is expected these additional mark boxes will result in less people checking the ‘Australian’ mark box, and instead choosing to specify Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestries. For people completing the Census online and who identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, these new response categories will be displayed at the top of the list.

For 2021, the order of the response categories has been updated based on frequency of reporting in the 2016 Census:

  • ‘Italian’ moved from 3rd position to 5th position
  • ‘German’ moved from 5th position to 6th position
  • ‘Chinese’ moved from 6th position to 4th position

As with previous Censuses, 'Australian' is placed as the last option for selection - prior to the text entry boxes for 'Other ancestry/s' - to encourage reporting of non-Australian ancestries where relevant.

For 2021, the other examples in the instructional text were updated.

For 2021, Norfolk Islander (code 1105) has been added in the updated classification to capture an ancestry reported by Norfolk Island residents following Norfolk Island’s inclusion in the Australian Census of Population and Housing for the first time in 2016.

Data use considerations

Ancestry can be related to the place a person or their parents or grandparents were born or the cultural group they most identify with. For example, a person may have been born in Australia, but they have Papua New Guinean ancestry. This helps us understand our diverse culture.

To accurately understand ancestry data, both ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) must be used. There are two ancestry variables because Census respondents are able to report up to two ancestries in their response to the question on ancestry. Respondents do not have the option of ranking their answers to the ancestry question, so where a respondent reports two ancestries, they have equal standing. The basis for allocating ancestries to the variables ANC1P and ANC2P is based on the order in which they are processed. These two ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) are combined into one variable, ANCP.

Ethnicity

The ancestry variables provide a self-assessed measure of ethnicity and cultural background, which, when used in conjunction with the person’s and their parents' countries of birth provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. Ancestry in the Australian context is complex as there are many Australians with origins and heritage that do not, in practice, relate to their current ethnic identity.  When ancestry data is used alone, it should only be done to represent a broad measure of cultural diversity.  Ancestry is particularly useful to identify distinct ethnic or cultural groups within Australia such as Maoris or Australian South Sea Islanders, and groups which are spread across countries such as Kurds. Surrogate measures of ethnicity such as country of birth or languages other than English spoken at home, alone cannot identify these groups. This information is useful in developing policies which reflect the needs of our society and for the effective delivery of services to particular ethnic communities.

Ancestry multi response - counting people or responses

When ANCP is added to a table and all the individual ancestries are summed together, a total count of responses, not people, is produced. This is because each person can provide up to two ancestries. So the total count of responses for all ancestries in Australia exceeds Australia’s total population. However, when using ANCP to look at individual ancestries, the count of responses is also the count of people. This is because respondents can only state a particular ancestry once (either as ANC1P or ANC2P).

Measurement issues

The ancestry question records all claims of association with ancestries, ethnic origins and cultures.  Whilst some people may respond according to how they may identify with a particular cultural group (subjectively), the intent of the question is to capture the cultural context in which they were raised (objectively).  Multiple responses are encouraged. Responses to the ancestry question are coded to the ASCCEG. The classification is not intended to classify people, but rather all claims of association with an ethnic origin or cultural group, i.e. one ancestry response is not equal to one person. Many people do not relate to a single ethnic origin or cultural group and will give multiple responses to a question on ancestry, ethnicity or cultural identity. The ABS has developed guidelines for the coding, storage and presentation of multiple responses to questions on ancestry, ethnicity or cultural identity data. These guidelines are included in the ASCCEG publication.

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Ancestry multi response (ANCP)
  • Ancestry 1st response (ANC1P)
  • Ancestry one or two response indicator (ANCRP)
  • Birthplace of mother (BPFP)
  • Birthplace of father (BPMP)
  • Indigenous status (INGP)

Data downloads

Ancestry 2nd response classification

Ancestry multi response (ANCP)

Definition

This variable indicates how a person identifies their ancestry. Respondents are able to provide up to two responses. These responses are combined and output into Ancestry multi response (ANCP).  

See also: Ancestry 1st response (ANC1P), Ancestry 2nd response (ANC2P).

Scope

All persons

Categories

Ancestry is coded using the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG), 2019. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page. 

1 Oceanian

1OCEANIAN  
 10Oceanian, nfd 
  1000Oceanian, nfd
 11Australian Peoples
  1100Australian Peoples, nfd
  1101Australian
  1102Australian Aboriginal
  1103Australian South Sea Islander
  1104Torres Strait Islander
  1105Norfolk Islander
 12New Zealand Peoples
  1200New Zealand Peoples, nfd
  1201Maori
  1202New Zealander
 13Melanesian and Papuan
  1300Melanesian and Papuan, nfd
  1301New Caledonian
  1302Ni-Vanuatu
  1303Papua New Guinean
  1304Solomon Islander
  1399Melanesian and Papuan, nec
 14Micronesian
  1400Micronesian, nfd
  1401I-Kiribati
  1402Nauruan
  1499Micronesian, nec
 15Polynesian
  1500Polynesian, nfd
  1501Cook Islander
  1502Fijian
  1503Niuean
  1504Samoan
  1505Tongan
  1506Hawaiian
  1507Tahitian
  1508Tokelauan
  1511Tuvaluan
  1512Pitcairn
  1599Polynesian, nec

2 North-west European

2NORTH-WEST EUROPEAN
 20North-West European, nfd 
  2000North-West European, nfd
 21British 
  2100British, nfd
  2101English
  2102Scottish
  2103Welsh
  2104Channel Islander
  2105Manx
  2199British, nec
 22Irish 
  2201Irish
 23Western European
  2300Western European, nfd
  2301Austrian
  2303Dutch
  2304Flemish
  2305French
  2306German
  2307Swiss
  2311Belgian
  2312Frisian
  2313Luxembourg
  2399Western European, nec
 24Northern European
  2400Northern European, nfd
  2401Danish
  2402Finnish
  2403Icelandic
  2404Norwegian
  2405Swedish
  2499Northern European, nec

3 Southern and Eastern European

3SOUTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN
 30Southern and Eastern European, nfd
  3000Southern and Eastern European, nfd
 31Southern European
  3100Southern European, nfd
  3101Basque
  3102Catalan
  3103Italian
  3104Maltese
  3105Portuguese
  3106Spanish
  3107Gibraltarian
  3199Southern European, nec
 32South Eastern European
  3200South Eastern European, nfd
  3201Albanian
  3202Bosnian
  3203Bulgarian
  3204Croatian
  3205Greek
  3206Macedonian
  3207Moldovan
  3208Montenegrin
  3211Romanian
  3212Roma Gypsy
  3213Serbian
  3214Slovene
  3215Cypriot
  3216Vlach
  3299South Eastern European, nec
 33Eastern European
  3300Eastern European, nfd
  3301Belarusan
  3302Czech
  3303Estonian
  3304Hungarian
  3305Latvian
  3306Lithuanian
  3307Polish
  3308Russian
  3311Slovak
  3312Ukrainian
  3313Sorb/Wend
  3399Eastern European, nec

4 North African and Middle Eastern

4NORTH AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN
 40North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
  4000North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
 41Arab 
  4100Arab, nfd
  4101Algerian
  4102Egyptian
  4103Iraqi
  4104Jordanian
  4105Kuwaiti
  4106Lebanese
  4107Libyan
  4108Moroccan
  4111Palestinian
  4112Saudi Arabian
  4113Syrian
  4114Tunisian
  4115Yemeni
  4116Bahraini
  4117Emirati
  4118Omani
  4121Qatari
  4199Arab, nec
 42Jewish 
  4201Jewish
 43Peoples of the Sudan
  4300Peoples of the Sudan, nfd
  4301Bari
  4302Darfur
  4303Dinka 
  4304Nuer
  4305South Sudanese
  4306Sudanese
  4399Peoples of the Sudan, nec
 49Other North African and Middle Eastern
  4900Other North African and Middle Eastern, nfd
  4902Berber
  4903Coptic
  4904Iranian
  4905Kurdish
  4907Turkish
  4908Assyrian
  4911Chaldean
  4912Mandaean
  4913Nubian 
  4914Yezidi
  4999Other North African and Middle Eastern, nec

5 South-East Asian

5SOUTH-EAST ASIAN 
 50South-East Asian, nfd
  5000South-East Asian, nfd
 51Mainland South-East Asian
  5100Mainland South-East Asian, nfd
  5101Anglo-Burmese
  5102Burmese
  5103Hmong
  5104Khmer (Cambodian)
  5105Lao
  5106Thai
  5107Vietnamese
  5108Karen
  5111Mon
  5112Chin
  5113Rohingya
  5199Mainland South-East Asian, nec
 52Maritime South-East Asian
  5200Maritime South-East Asian, nfd
  5201Filipino
  5202Indonesian
  5203Javanese
  5204Madurese
  5205Malay
  5206Sundanese
  5207Timorese
  5208Acehnese
  5211Balinese
  5212Bruneian
  5213Kadazan
  5214Singaporean
  5215Temoq
  5299Maritime South-East Asian, nec

6 North-East Asian

6NORTH-EAST ASIAN 
 60North-East Asian, nfd
  6000North-East Asian, nfd
 61Chinese Asian
  6100Chinese Asian, nfd
  6101Chinese
  6102Taiwanese
  6199Chinese Asian, nec
 69Other North-East Asian
  6900Other North-East Asian, nfd
  6901Japanese
  6902Korean
  6903Mongolian
  6904Tibetan
  6999Other North-East Asian, nec

7 Southern and Central Asian

7SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL ASIAN
 70Southern and Central Asian, nfd
  7000Southern and Central Asian, nfd
 71Southern Asian
  7100Southern Asian, nfd
  7101Anglo-Indian
  7102Bengali
  7103Burgher
  7104Gujarati
  7106Indian
  7107Malayali
  7111Nepalese
  7112Pakistani
  7113Punjabi
  7114Sikh
  7115Sinhalese
  7117Maldivian
  7118Bangladeshi
  7121Bhutanese
  7122Fijian Indian 
  7123Kashmiri
  7124Parsi
  7125Sindhi
  7126Sri Lankan
  7127Sri Lankan Tamil
  7128Indian Tamil 
  7131Tamil, nfd
  7132Telugu
  7199Southern Asian, nec
 72Central Asian
  7200Central Asian, nfd
  7201Afghan
  7202Armenian
  7203Georgian
  7204Kazakh
  7205Pathan
  7206Uzbek
  7207Azeri
  7208Hazara
  7211Tajik
  7212Tatar
  7213Turkmen
  7214Uighur
  7215Kyrgyz
  7299Central Asian, nec

8 Peoples of the Americas

8PEOPLES OF THE AMERICAS
 80Peoples of the Americas, nfd
  8000Peoples of the Americas, nfd
 81North American
  8100North American, nfd
  8101African American
  8102American
  8103Canadian
  8104French Canadian
  8105Hispanic North American
  8106Native North American Indian
  8107Bermudan
  8199North American, nec
 82South American
  8200South American, nfd
  8201Argentinian
  8202Bolivian
  8203Brazilian
  8204Chilean
  8205Colombian
  8206Ecuadorian
  8207Guyanese
  8208Peruvian
  8211Uruguayan
  8212Venezuelan
  8213Paraguayan
  8299South American, nec
 83Central American
  8300Central American, nfd
  8301Mexican
  8302Nicaraguan
  8303Salvadoran
  8304Costa Rican
  8305Guatemalan
  8306Mayan
  8399Central American, nec
 84Caribbean Islander
  8400Caribbean Islander, nfd
  8401Cuban
  8402Jamaican
  8403Trinidadian Tobagonian
  8404Barbadian
  8405Puerto Rican
  8499Caribbean Islander, nec

9 Sub-Saharan African

9SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN
 90Sub-Saharan African, nfd
  9000Sub-Saharan African, nfd
 91Central and West African
  9100Central and West African, nfd
  9101Akan
  9102Fulani
  9103Ghanaian
  9104Nigerian
  9105Yoruba
  9106Ivorean
  9107Liberian
  9108Sierra Leonean
  9111Acholi
  9112Cameroonian
  9113Congolese
  9114Gio
  9115Igbo
  9116Krahn
  9117Mandinka
  9118Senegalese
  9121Themne
  9122Togolese
  9199Central and West African, nec
 92Southern and East African
  9200Southern and East African, nfd
  9201Afrikaner
  9202Angolan
  9203Eritrean
  9204Ethiopian
  9205Kenyan
  9206Malawian
  9207Mauritian
  9208Mozambican
  9211Namibian
  9212Oromo
  9213Seychellois
  9214Somali
  9215South African
  9216Tanzanian
  9217Ugandan
  9218Zambian
  9221Zimbabwean
  9222Amhara
  9223Batswana
  9225Hutu
  9226Masai
  9228Tigrayan
  9231Tigre
  9232Zulu
  9233Burundian
  9234Kunama
  9235Madi
  9236Ogaden
  9237Rwandan
  9238Shona
  9241Swahili
  9242Swazilander
  9299Southern and East African, nec

Supplementary codes

0SUPPLEMENTARY CODES
 00Inadequately described
  0000Inadequately described
 09So described, nfd
  0901Eurasian, so described
  0902Asian, so described
  0903African, so described
  0904European, so described
  0905Caucasian, so described
  0906Creole, so described
&Not stated  
 &&Not stated 
  &&&&Not stated
@Not applicable 
 @@Not applicable
   @@@@Not applicable
VOverseas visitor 
 VVOverseas visitor
  VVVVOverseas visitor

Not applicable (@@@@) comprises:

  • Persons who provided a first ancestry but did not provide a second
  • ANC1P not stated

Number of categories: 

  • One-digit level: 13
  • Two-digit level: 42   
  • Four-digit level: 323

Question(s) from the Census form

What is the person’s ancestry?

What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

Person's ancestry

English

Irish

Scottish

Chinese

Italian

German

Aboriginal

Torres Strait Islander

Australian

Other ancestry 1 (please specify)

Other ancestry 2 (please specify)

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

If more than two ancestries apply, provide the two ancestries the person most closely identifies with.

If you are unclear about what ancestry you should include, consider the ethnic or cultural origins of the person's parents and/or grandparents as a guide.

If the person is a Pacific Islander, report their ancestry as accurately as possible, for example, Samoan, Tongan or Cook Islander.

If the person is a descendant of South Sea Islanders brought to Australia as labourers at the turn of the twentieth century, please answer ‘Australian South Sea Islander’.

For ancestries not listed, please select the 'Other ancestry 1 (please specify)' option and enter the name of the ancestry in the box and, if needed, 'Other ancestry 2 (please specify)'.

How this variable is created

The three ancestry variables are created from responses to the ancestry question on the Census form. The allocation of ancestries to the variables ANC1P and ANC2P are administrative only and based on the order in which the responses are processed. These two ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) are combined into one variable, ANCP.

Respondents can select their ancestry by using the mark boxes, and/or the write in response boxes.  The most common ancestry responses from the 2016 Census are the mark box options on the 2021 Census form, with the addition of separate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mark boxes.  Most responses for ancestry are captured in the mark box responses, but overall, the following scenarios apply:

  • Written responses are first coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding. The remaining responses require manual coding.
  • Where respondents report more than two ancestries, only two are processed.
  • Where only one ancestry was provided, ANC2P is recorded as ‘Not applicable’.
  • Ancestry is coded using the ASCCEG. If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

History and changes

Ancestry was first included as a question in the 1986 Census. The aim of the question was to measure the ethnic composition of the population, but it did not perform as expected for this purpose as there was a high level of subjectivity and lack of clarity about what the question meant. Consequently, ancestry was not included in either the 1991 or 1996 Censuses.

In 2001, the question was asked again with instructions to 'Provide more than one ancestry if necessary', and to consider their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.

For the 2006 and 2011 Censuses, respondents were asked to mark the ancestries they most closely identified with and to consider their ancestry back as far as two generations (i.e. their parents and grandparents). Respondents were asked to report at least one ancestry, but no more than two ancestries.

For the 2016 Census the format of the ancestry question was revised to provide two distinct text response areas for separate written ancestry responses. This change aimed to clarify responses and improve autocoding rates.

The 2021 Census includes mark boxes for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestries.  It is expected these additional mark boxes will result in less people checking the ‘Australian’ mark box, and instead choosing to specify Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestries. For people completing the Census online and who identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, these new response categories will be displayed at the top of the list.

For 2021, the order of the response categories has been updated based on frequency of reporting in the 2016 Census:

  • ‘Italian’ moved from 3rd position to 5th position
  • ‘German’ moved from 5th position to 6th position
  • ‘Chinese’ moved from 6th position to 4th position

As with previous censuses, 'Australian' is placed as the last option for selection - prior to the text entry boxes for 'Other ancestry/s' - to encourage reporting of non-Australian ancestries where relevant.

For 2021, the other examples in the instructional text were updated.

For 2021, Norfolk Islander (code 1105) has been added in the updated classification to capture an ancestry reported by Norfolk Island residents following Norfolk Island’s inclusion in the Australian Census of Population and Housing for the first time in 2016.

Data use considerations

Ancestry can be related to the place a person or their parents or grandparents were born or the cultural group they most identify with. For example, a person may have been born in Australia, but they have Papua New Guinean ancestry. This helps us understand our diverse culture.

To accurately understand ancestry data, both ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) must be used. There are two ancestry variables because Census respondents are able to report up to two ancestries in their response to the question on ancestry. Respondents do not have the option of ranking their answers to the ancestry question, so where a respondent reports two ancestries, they have equal standing. The basis for allocating ancestries to the variables ANC1P and ANC2P is based on the order in which they are processed. These two ancestry variables (ANC1P and ANC2P) are combined into one variable, ANCP.

Ethnicity

The ancestry variables provide a self-assessed measure of ethnicity and cultural background, which, when used in conjunction with the person’s and their parents' countries of birth provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. Ancestry in the Australian context is complex as there are many Australians with origins and heritage that do not, in practice, relate to their current ethnic identity.  When Ancestry data is used alone, it should only be done to represent a broad measure of cultural diversity.  Ancestry is particularly useful to identify distinct ethnic or cultural groups within Australia such as Maoris or Australian South Sea Islanders, and groups which are spread across countries such as Kurds. Surrogate measures of ethnicity such as country of birth or languages other than English spoken at home, alone cannot identify these groups. This information is useful in developing policies which reflect the needs of our society and for the effective delivery of services to particular ethnic communities.

Ancestry multi response -  counting people or responses

When ANCP is added to a table and all the individual ancestries are summed together, a total count of responses, not people, is produced. This is because each person can provide up to two ancestries. So the total count of responses for all ancestries in Australia exceeds Australia’s total population. However, when using ANCP to look at individual ancestries, the count of responses is also the count of people. This is because respondents can only state a particular ancestry once (either as ANC1P or ANC2P).

Measurement issues

The Ancestry question records all claims of association with ancestries, ethnic origins and cultures.  Whilst some people may respond according to how they may identify with a particular cultural group (subjectively), the intent of the question is to capture the cultural context in which they were raised (objectively).  Multiple responses are encouraged. Responses to the ancestry question are coded to the ASCCEG. The classification is not intended to classify people, but rather all claims of association with an ethnic origin or cultural group, i.e. one ancestry response is not equal to one person. Many people do not relate to a single ethnic origin or cultural group and will give multiple responses to a question on ancestry, ethnicity or cultural identity. The ABS has developed guidelines for the coding, storage and presentation of multiple responses to questions on ancestry, ethnicity or cultural identity data. These guidelines are included in the ASCCEG publication.

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Ancestry 1st response (ANC1P)
  • Ancestry 2nd response (ANC2P)
  • Ancestry one or two response indicator (ANCRP)
  • Birthplace of mother (BPFP)
  • Birthplace of father (BPMP)
  • Indigenous status (INGP)

Data downloads

Ancestry multi response classification

Ancestry one or two response indicator (ANCRP)

Definition

This variable indicates whether a person provided one response or two responses to the ancestry question.

Scope

All persons

Categories

CodeCategory

1

One response

2

Two responses

&

Not stated

V

Overseas visitor

Number of categories:  4

Question(s) from the Census form

What is the person’s ancestry?

What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

Person's ancestry

English

Irish

Scottish

Chinese

Italian

German

Aboriginal

Torres Strait Islander

Australian

Other ancestry 1 (please specify)

Other ancestry 2 (please specify)

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: What is the person’s ancestry?
What is Person 1's ancestry?

Provide up to two ancestries only.

Examples of ‘Other ancestry’: Croatian, Serbian, Filipino, Tamil, Sinhalese, Hmong, Maori, Pitcairn, Australian South Sea Islander.

More information

If more than two ancestries apply, provide the two ancestries the person most closely identifies with.

If you are unclear about what ancestry you should include, consider the ethnic or cultural origins of the person's parents and/or grandparents as a guide.

If the person is a Pacific Islander, report their ancestry as accurately as possible, for example, Samoan, Tongan or Cook Islander.

If the person is a descendant of South Sea Islanders brought to Australia as labourers at the turn of the twentieth century, please answer ‘Australian South Sea Islander’.

For ancestries not listed, please select the 'Other ancestry 1 (please specify)' option and enter the name of the ancestry in the box and, if needed, 'Other ancestry 2 (please specify)'.

How this variable is created

This variable is derived from responses to the ancestry question. Respondents can provide up to two ancestries. When a respondent reports one ancestry they are coded to ‘One response’ and when a respondent reports two ancestries, they are coded to ‘Two responses’. Where a respondent does not answer the question, they are coded to ‘Not stated’.

History and changes

This is a new variable for 2021.

Data use considerations

This variable allows data users to understand whether a person provided one or two responses to the ancestry question.

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Ancestry multi response (ANCP)
  • Ancestry 1st response (ANC1P)
  • Ancestry 2nd response (ANC2P)

Country of birth of mother (BPFP)

Definition

This variable indicates the country in which a person’s mother was born.

Scope

All persons

Categories

Country of birth of mother is coded using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page. 

1 Oceania and Antarctica

 1Oceania and Antarctica
  10Oceania and Antarctica, nfd
   1000Oceania and Antarctica, nfd
  11Australia (includes External Territories)
   1100Australia (includes External Territories), nfd
   1101Australia
   1102Norfolk Island
   1199Australian External Territories, nec
  12New Zealand
   1201New Zealand
  13Melanesia 
   1300Melanesia, nfd
   1301New Caledonia
   1302Papua New Guinea
   1303Solomon Islands
   1304Vanuatu
  14Micronesia
   1400Micronesia, nfd
   1401Guam
   1402Kiribati
   1403Marshall Islands
   1404Micronesia, Federated States of
   1405Nauru
   1406Northern Mariana Islands
   1407Palau
  15Polynesia (excludes Hawaii)
   1500Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nfd
   1501Cook Islands
   1502Fiji
   1503French Polynesia
   1504Niue
   1505Samoa
   1506Samoa, American
   1507Tokelau
   1508Tonga
   1511Tuvalu
   1512Wallis and Futuna
   1513Pitcairn Islands
   1599Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nec
  16Antarctica 
   1600Antarctica, nfd
   1601Adelie Land (France)
   1602Argentinian Antarctic Territory
   1603Australian Antarctic Territory
   1604British Antarctic Territory
   1605Chilean Antarctic Territory
   1606Queen Maud Land (Norway)
   1607Ross Dependency (New Zealand)

2 North-West Europe

 2North-West Europe 
  20North-West Europe, nfd
   2000North-West Europe, nfd
  21United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man
   2100United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, nfd
   2102England
   2103Isle of Man
   2104Northern Ireland
   2105Scotland
   2106Wales
   2107Guernsey
   2108Jersey
  22Ireland 
   2201Ireland
  23Western Europe
   2300Western Europe, nfd
   2301Austria
   2302Belgium
   2303France
   2304Germany
   2305Liechtenstein
   2306Luxembourg
   2307Monaco
   2308Netherlands
   2311Switzerland
  24Northern Europe
   2400Northern Europe, nfd
   2401Denmark
   2402Faroe Islands
   2403Finland
   2404Greenland
   2405Iceland
   2406Norway
   2407Sweden
   2408Aland Islands

3 Southern and Eastern Europe

 3Southern and Eastern Europe
  30Southern and Eastern Europe, nfd
   3000Southern and Eastern Europe, nfd
  31Southern Europe
   3100Southern Europe, nfd
   3101Andorra
   3102Gibraltar
   3103Holy See
   3104Italy
   3105Malta
   3106Portugal
   3107San Marino
   3108Spain
  32South Eastern Europe
   3200South Eastern Europe, nfd
   3201Albania
   3202Bosnia and Herzegovina
   3203Bulgaria
   3204Croatia
   3205Cyprus
   3206North Macedonia
   3207Greece
   3208Moldova
   3211Romania
   3212Slovenia
   3214Montenegro
   3215Serbia
   3216Kosovo
  33Eastern Europe
   3300Eastern Europe, nfd
   3301Belarus
   3302Czechia
   3303Estonia
   3304Hungary
   3305Latvia
   3306Lithuania
   3307Poland
   3308Russian Federation
   3311Slovakia
   3312Ukraine

4 North Africa and the Middle East

 4North Africa and the Middle East
  40North Africa and the Middle East, nfd
   4000North Africa and the Middle East, nfd
  41North Africa
   4100North Africa, nfd
   4101Algeria
   4102Egypt
   4103Libya
   4104Morocco
   4105Sudan
   4106Tunisia
   4107Western Sahara
   4108Spanish North Africa
   4111South Sudan
  42Middle East
   4200Middle East, nfd
   4201Bahrain
   4202Gaza Strip and West Bank
   4203Iran
   4204Iraq
   4205Israel
   4206Jordan
   4207Kuwait
   4208Lebanon
   4211Oman
   4212Qatar
   4213Saudi Arabia
   4214Syria
   4215Turkey
   4216United Arab Emirates
   4217Yemen

5 South-East Asia

 5South-East Asia 
  50South-East Asia, nfd
   5000South-East Asia, nfd
  51Mainland South-East Asia
   5100Mainland South-East Asia, nfd
   5101Myanmar
   5102Cambodia
   5103Laos
   5104Thailand
   5105Vietnam
  52Maritime South-East Asia
   5200Maritime South-East Asia, nfd
   5201Brunei Darussalam
   5202Indonesia
   5203Malaysia
   5204Philippines
   5205Singapore
   5206Timor-Leste

6 North-East Asia

 6North-East Asia 
  60North-East Asia, nfd
   6000North-East Asia, nfd
  61Chinese Asia (includes Mongolia)
   6100Chinese Asia (includes Mongolia), nfd
   6101China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)
   6102Hong Kong (SAR of China)
   6103Macau (SAR of China)
   6104Mongolia
   6105Taiwan
  62Japan and the Koreas
   6200Japan and the Koreas, nfd
   6201Japan
   6202Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (North)
   6203Korea, Republic of (South)

7 Southern and Central Asia

 7Southern and Central Asia
  70Southern and Central Asia, nfd
   7000Southern and Central Asia, nfd
  71Southern Asia
   7100Southern Asia, nfd
   7101Bangladesh
   7102Bhutan
   7103India
   7104Maldives
   7105Nepal
   7106Pakistan
   7107Sri Lanka
  72Central Asia
   7200Central Asia, nfd
   7201Afghanistan
   7202Armenia
   7203Azerbaijan
   7204Georgia
   7205Kazakhstan
   7206Kyrgyzstan
   7207Tajikistan
   7208Turkmenistan
   7211Uzbekistan

8 Americas

 8Americas  
  80Americas, nfd
   8000Americas, nfd
  81Northern America
   8100Northern America, nfd
   8101Bermuda
   8102Canada
   8103St Pierre and Miquelon
   8104United States of America
  82South America
   8200South America, nfd
   8201Argentina
   8202Bolivia
   8203Brazil
   8204Chile
   8205Colombia
   8206Ecuador
   8207Falkland Islands
   8208French Guiana
   8211Guyana
   8212Paraguay
   8213Peru
   8214Suriname
   8215Uruguay
   8216Venezuela
   8299South America, nec
  83Central America
   8300Central America, nfd
   8301Belize
   8302Costa Rica
   8303El Salvador
   8304Guatemala
   8305Honduras
   8306Mexico
   8307Nicaragua
   8308Panama
  84Caribbean 
   8400Caribbean, nfd
   8401Anguilla
   8402Antigua and Barbuda
   8403Aruba
   8404Bahamas
   8405Barbados
   8406Cayman Islands
   8407Cuba
   8408Dominica
   8411Dominican Republic
   8412Grenada
   8413Guadeloupe
   8414Haiti
   8415Jamaica
   8416Martinique
   8417Montserrat
   8421Puerto Rico
   8422St Kitts and Nevis
   8423St Lucia
   8424St Vincent and the Grenadines
   8425Trinidad and Tobago
   8426Turks and Caicos Islands
   8427Virgin Islands, British
   8428Virgin Islands, United States
   8431St Barthelemy
   8432St Martin (French part)
   8433Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
   8434Curacao
   8435Sint Maarten (Dutch part)

9 Sub-Saharan Africa

 9Sub-Saharan Africa 
  90Sub-Saharan Africa, nfd
   9000Sub-Saharan Africa, nfd
  91Central and West Africa
   9100Central and West Africa, nfd
   9101Benin
   9102Burkina Faso
   9103Cameroon
   9104Cabo Verde
   9105Central African Republic
   9106Chad
   9107Congo, Republic of
   9108Congo, Democratic Republic of
   9111Cote d'Ivoire
   9112Equatorial Guinea
   9113Gabon
   9114Gambia
   9115Ghana
   9116Guinea
   9117Guinea-Bissau
   9118Liberia
   9121Mali
   9122Mauritania
   9123Niger
   9124Nigeria
   9125Sao Tome and Principe
   9126Senegal
   9127Sierra Leone
   9128Togo
  92Southern and East Africa
   9200Southern and East Africa, nfd
   9201Angola
   9202Botswana
   9203Burundi
   9204Comoros
   9205Djibouti
   9206Eritrea
   9207Ethiopia
   9208Kenya
   9211Lesotho
   9212Madagascar
   9213Malawi
   9214Mauritius
   9215Mayotte
   9216Mozambique
   9217Namibia
   9218Reunion
   9221Rwanda
   9222St Helena
   9223Seychelles
   9224Somalia
   9225South Africa
   9226Eswatini
   9227Tanzania
   9228Uganda
   9231Zambia
   9232Zimbabwe
   9299Southern and East Africa, nec

 Supplementary Codes

0Supplementary codes
 00Supplementary codes
   0000Inadequately described
   0001At sea
&Not stated 
 &&Not stated 
   &&&&Not stated
VOverseas visitor 
 VVOverseas visitor
   VVVVOverseas visitor

Number of categories:

  • One-digit level: 12
  • Two-digit level: 39
  • Four-digit level: 293

Question(s) from the Census form

In which country was the person’s mother born?

In which country was the person’s mother born?
In which country was Person 1's mother born?

If the person does not know their birth mother, and has a second parent, please include the country of birth of the second parent here.

If the person has same-sex parents, include the country of birth of one of the two parents here.

This information is collected from everybody, even children whose parents have already provided their country of birth. This avoids making assumptions about family relationships.

Mother's country of birth

Australia

England

New Zealand

India

Philippines

Vietnam

Italy

Other (please specify)

How this variable is created

Country of birth of mother (BPFP) is a person variable that is created based on the response to country of birth of mother question. On the paper form, respondents may either use a mark box to indicate Australia or write the name of any other country in the text field. On the online form, the question uses a combination of mark boxes for the most frequent responses expected, accompanied by a text field to capture all other responses. The options are ordered based on the relative number of responses received in the 2016 Census.

Any typed country of birth response will also appear as an option for that person’s country of birth of mother.

The majority of responses for country of birth of person are captured automatically from the mark box response. Written responses are coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes. The remaining responses require manual coding processes when they cannot be coded or derived automatically.

If a person:

  • uses a former country name, it is coded to the current country name (for example, Siam would be coded to Thailand)
  • has marked Australia and given a text response, the responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra response is rejected
  • does not answer the question, and a mother has been identified for the family unit on the same Census form, then the mother’s birthplace is coded as the mother’s country of birth, for that respondent.

BPFP is coded using the SACC.  If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

History and changes

A question relating to BPFP was first asked in the 1921 Census, but not included again until 1971 and has been included in all Australian censuses from 1971.

Prior to the 2001 Census, respondents were asked to write in their mother's birthplace as a text response.

From 2001 to 2011, the question was simplified to a simple mark box with two options for either Australia or Overseas. This was done following the introduction of a question on a person's ancestry.

For the 2016 Census, the question format was changed to again allow respondents to provide details for the country of birth of their mother where it was not Australia. Respondents were asked to use a mark box to respond for Australia, or a text field to specify any other country.

For the first time, the 2021 Census included instructions to provide guidance on situations where the birth parent is unknown and there is a second parent, or the person has same-sex parents.

There have been changes to the SACC for 2021:

  • 3302 'Czech Republic' has been changed to 'Czechia'
  • 9226 'Swaziland' has been changed to 'Eswatini'
  • 3206 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' has been changed to 'North Macedonia'
  • 2402 spelling of 'Faeroe Islands' has been changed to 'Faroe Islands'

Data use considerations

Data on country of birth provide important information on ethnicity when used with, Ancestry multi response (ANCP), Language used at home (LANP) and Religious affiliation (RELP).

Related variables and glossary terms

Data downloads

Country of birth of mother classification

Country of birth of person (BPLP)

Definition

This variable indicates in which country a person was born.

Scope

All persons

Categories

Country of birth of person is coded using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page. 

1 Oceania and Antarctica

 1Oceania and Antarctica
  10Oceania and Antarctica, nfd
   1000Oceania and Antarctica, nfd
  11Australia (includes External Territories)
   1100Australia (includes External Territories), nfd
   1101Australia
   1102Norfolk Island
   1199Australian External Territories, nec
  12New Zealand
   1201New Zealand
  13Melanesia 
   1300Melanesia, nfd
   1301New Caledonia
   1302Papua New Guinea
   1303Solomon Islands
   1304Vanuatu
  14Micronesia
   1400Micronesia, nfd
   1401Guam
   1402Kiribati
   1403Marshall Islands
   1404Micronesia, Federated States of
   1405Nauru
   1406Northern Mariana Islands
   1407Palau
  15Polynesia (excludes Hawaii)
   1500Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nfd
   1501Cook Islands
   1502Fiji
   1503French Polynesia
   1504Niue
   1505Samoa
   1506Samoa, American
   1507Tokelau
   1508Tonga
   1511Tuvalu
   1512Wallis and Futuna
   1513Pitcairn Islands
   1599Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nec
  16Antarctica 
   1600Antarctica, nfd
   1601Adelie Land (France)
   1602Argentinian Antarctic Territory
   1603Australian Antarctic Territory
   1604British Antarctic Territory
   1605Chilean Antarctic Territory
   1606Queen Maud Land (Norway)
   1607Ross Dependency (New Zealand)

2 North-West Europe

 2North-West Europe 
  20North-West Europe, nfd
   2000North-West Europe, nfd
  21United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man
   2100United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, nfd
   2102England
   2103Isle of Man
   2104Northern Ireland
   2105Scotland
   2106Wales
   2107Guernsey
   2108Jersey
  22Ireland 
   2201Ireland
  23Western Europe
   2300Western Europe, nfd
   2301Austria
   2302Belgium
   2303France
   2304Germany
   2305Liechtenstein
   2306Luxembourg
   2307Monaco
   2308Netherlands
   2311Switzerland
  24Northern Europe
   2400Northern Europe, nfd
   2401Denmark
   2402Faroe Islands
   2403Finland
   2404Greenland
   2405Iceland
   2406Norway
   2407Sweden
   2408Aland Islands

3 Southern and Eastern Europe

 3Southern and Eastern Europe
  30Southern and Eastern Europe, nfd
   3000Southern and Eastern Europe, nfd
  31Southern Europe
   3100Southern Europe, nfd
   3101Andorra
   3102Gibraltar
   3103Holy See
   3104Italy
   3105Malta
   3106Portugal
   3107San Marino
   3108Spain
  32South Eastern Europe
   3200South Eastern Europe, nfd
   3201Albania
   3202Bosnia and Herzegovina
   3203Bulgaria
   3204Croatia
   3205Cyprus
   3206North Macedonia
   3207Greece
   3208Moldova
   3211Romania
   3212Slovenia
   3214Montenegro
   3215Serbia
   3216Kosovo
  33Eastern Europe
   3300Eastern Europe, nfd
   3301Belarus
   3302Czechia
   3303Estonia
   3304Hungary
   3305Latvia
   3306Lithuania
   3307Poland
   3308Russian Federation
   3311Slovakia
   3312Ukraine

4 North Africa and the Middle East

 4North Africa and the Middle East
  40North Africa and the Middle East, nfd
   4000North Africa and the Middle East, nfd
  41North Africa
   4100North Africa, nfd
   4101Algeria
   4102Egypt
   4103Libya
   4104Morocco
   4105Sudan
   4106Tunisia
   4107Western Sahara
   4108Spanish North Africa
   4111South Sudan
  42Middle East
   4200Middle East, nfd
   4201Bahrain
   4202Gaza Strip and West Bank
   4203Iran
   4204Iraq
   4205Israel
   4206Jordan
   4207Kuwait
   4208Lebanon
   4211Oman
   4212Qatar
   4213Saudi Arabia
   4214Syria
   4215Turkey
   4216United Arab Emirates
   4217Yemen

5 South-East Asia

 5South-East Asia 
  50South-East Asia, nfd
   5000South-East Asia, nfd
  51Mainland South-East Asia
   5100Mainland South-East Asia, nfd
   5101Myanmar
   5102Cambodia
   5103Laos
   5104Thailand
   5105Vietnam
  52Maritime South-East Asia
   5200Maritime South-East Asia, nfd
   5201Brunei Darussalam
   5202Indonesia
   5203Malaysia
   5204Philippines
   5205Singapore
   5206Timor-Leste

6 North-East Asia

 6North-East Asia 
  60North-East Asia, nfd
   6000North-East Asia, nfd
  61Chinese Asia (includes Mongolia)
   6100Chinese Asia (includes Mongolia), nfd
   6101China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)
   6102Hong Kong (SAR of China)
   6103Macau (SAR of China)
   6104Mongolia
   6105Taiwan
  62Japan and the Koreas
   6200Japan and the Koreas, nfd
   6201Japan
   6202Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (North)
   6203Korea, Republic of (South)

7 Southern and Central Asia

 7Southern and Central Asia
  70Southern and Central Asia, nfd
   7000Southern and Central Asia, nfd
  71Southern Asia
   7100Southern Asia, nfd
   7101Bangladesh
   7102Bhutan
   7103India
   7104Maldives
   7105Nepal
   7106Pakistan
   7107Sri Lanka
  72Central Asia
   7200Central Asia, nfd
   7201Afghanistan
   7202Armenia
   7203Azerbaijan
   7204Georgia
   7205Kazakhstan
   7206Kyrgyzstan
   7207Tajikistan
   7208Turkmenistan
   7211Uzbekistan

8 Americas

 8Americas  
  80Americas, nfd
   8000Americas, nfd
  81Northern America
   8100Northern America, nfd
   8101Bermuda
   8102Canada
   8103St Pierre and Miquelon
   8104United States of America
  82South America
   8200South America, nfd
   8201Argentina
   8202Bolivia
   8203Brazil
   8204Chile
   8205Colombia
   8206Ecuador
   8207Falkland Islands
   8208French Guiana
   8211Guyana
   8212Paraguay
   8213Peru
   8214Suriname
   8215Uruguay
   8216Venezuela
   8299South America, nec
  83Central America
   8300Central America, nfd
   8301Belize
   8302Costa Rica
   8303El Salvador
   8304Guatemala
   8305Honduras
   8306Mexico
   8307Nicaragua
   8308Panama
  84Caribbean 
   8400Caribbean, nfd
   8401Anguilla
   8402Antigua and Barbuda
   8403Aruba
   8404Bahamas
   8405Barbados
   8406Cayman Islands
   8407Cuba
   8408Dominica
   8411Dominican Republic
   8412Grenada
   8413Guadeloupe
   8414Haiti
   8415Jamaica
   8416Martinique
   8417Montserrat
   8421Puerto Rico
   8422St Kitts and Nevis
   8423St Lucia
   8424St Vincent and the Grenadines
   8425Trinidad and Tobago
   8426Turks and Caicos Islands
   8427Virgin Islands, British
   8428Virgin Islands, United States
   8431St Barthelemy
   8432St Martin (French part)
   8433Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
   8434Curacao
   8435Sint Maarten (Dutch part)

9 Sub-Saharan Africa

 9Sub-Saharan Africa 
  90Sub-Saharan Africa, nfd
   9000Sub-Saharan Africa, nfd
  91Central and West Africa
   9100Central and West Africa, nfd
   9101Benin
   9102Burkina Faso
   9103Cameroon
   9104Cabo Verde
   9105Central African Republic
   9106Chad
   9107Congo, Republic of
   9108Congo, Democratic Republic of
   9111Cote d'Ivoire
   9112Equatorial Guinea
   9113Gabon
   9114Gambia
   9115Ghana
   9116Guinea
   9117Guinea-Bissau
   9118Liberia
   9121Mali
   9122Mauritania
   9123Niger
   9124Nigeria
   9125Sao Tome and Principe
   9126Senegal
   9127Sierra Leone
   9128Togo
  92Southern and East Africa
   9200Southern and East Africa, nfd
   9201Angola
   9202Botswana
   9203Burundi
   9204Comoros
   9205Djibouti
   9206Eritrea
   9207Ethiopia
   9208Kenya
   9211Lesotho
   9212Madagascar
   9213Malawi
   9214Mauritius
   9215Mayotte
   9216Mozambique
   9217Namibia
   9218Reunion
   9221Rwanda
   9222St Helena
   9223Seychelles
   9224Somalia
   9225South Africa
   9226Eswatini
   9227Tanzania
   9228Uganda
   9231Zambia
   9232Zimbabwe
   9299Southern and East Africa, nec

Supplementary Codes

0Supplementary codes
 00Supplementary codes
   0000Inadequately described
   0001At sea
&Not stated 
 &&Not stated 
   &&&&Not stated
VOverseas visitor 
 VVOverseas visitor
   VVVVOverseas visitor

Number of categories:

  • One-digit level: 12
  • Two-digit level: 39  
  • Four-digit level: 293

Question(s) from the Census form

In which country was the person born?

In which country was the person born?
In which country was Person 1 born?

The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

Person's country of birth

Australia

England

New Zealand

India

Philippines

Vietnam

Italy

Other (please specify)

Example

Example response to: In which country was the person born? England response selected.
In which country was Person 1 born?

The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

Person's country of birth

Australia

England (selected response)

New Zealand

India

Philippines

Vietnam

Italy

Other (please specify)

Example 2

Example response to: In which country was the person born? Australia response selected.
In which country was Person 1 born?

The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

Person's country of birth

Australia (selected response)

England

New Zealand

India

Philippines

Vietnam

Italy

Other (please specify)

Arrival in Australia
This question does not apply, based on your answer to the Country of Birth question.

How this variable is created

This variable is created based on the response to the country of birth of person question. Respondents may either use a mark box to indicate the country of birth or write the name of the country in the text field.

The majority of responses for country of birth of person are captured automatically from the mark box response. Written responses are coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes. The remaining responses require manual coding processes when they cannot be coded or derived automatically.

If a person:

  • uses a former country name, it is coded to the current country name (for example, Siam would be coded to Thailand)
  • has marked Australia and given a text response, the responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra response is rejected

In a small number of cases where country of birth is not stated, the category 'Born in Australia' is derived. This occurs when the person's father or mother was counted in the same dwelling and reported that they were born in Australia. If insufficient information was provided to derive a country response category, it remains as ‘Not stated’.

Country of birth is coded using the SACC. If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

History and changes

This variable was first reported in 1911, and prior to 2006, it was referred to as 'Birthplace' rather than 'Country of birth'.

For 2021, the order of the response categories has been updated to reflect the most common answers from the 2016 Census:

  • ‘Philippines’ moved from 7th to 5th position
  • ‘Italy’ moved from 5th to 7th position.

Although China is a country in which a large proportion of Australia's population were born, China does not have a response category on the form. This is to allow people to write in:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau, or
  • Taiwan.

There have been changes to the SACC for 2021:

  • 3302 'Czech Republic' has been changed to 'Czechia'
  • 9226 'Swaziland' has been changed to 'Eswatini'
  • 3206 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' has been changed to 'North Macedonia'
  • 2402 spelling of 'Faeroe Islands' has been changed to 'Faroe Islands'.

Data use considerations

The measurement of the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Australian population, and the degree to which Australians retain their ethnic and cultural identity, is primarily based on the use of a number of Census variables related to a person's origin, including:

  • Ancestry multi response (ANCP)
  • Language used at home (LANP)
  • Religious affiliation (RELP)

Related variables and glossary terms

Data downloads

Country of birth of person classification

Country of birth of father (BPMP)

Definition

This variable indicates the country of birth of each person's father.

Scope

All persons

Categories

Country of birth of father is coded using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page. 

1 Oceania and Antarctica

 1Oceania and Antarctica
  10Oceania and Antarctica, nfd
   1000Oceania and Antarctica, nfd
  11Australia (includes External Territories)
   1100Australia (includes External Territories), nfd
   1101Australia
   1102Norfolk Island
   1199Australian External Territories, nec
  12New Zealand
   1201New Zealand
  13Melanesia 
   1300Melanesia, nfd
   1301New Caledonia
   1302Papua New Guinea
   1303Solomon Islands
   1304Vanuatu
  14Micronesia
   1400Micronesia, nfd
   1401Guam
   1402Kiribati
   1403Marshall Islands
   1404Micronesia, Federated States of
   1405Nauru
   1406Northern Mariana Islands
   1407Palau
  15Polynesia (excludes Hawaii)
   1500Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nfd
   1501Cook Islands
   1502Fiji
   1503French Polynesia
   1504Niue
   1505Samoa
   1506Samoa, American
   1507Tokelau
   1508Tonga
   1511Tuvalu
   1512Wallis and Futuna
   1513Pitcairn Islands
   1599Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nec
  16Antarctica 
   1600Antarctica, nfd
   1601Adelie Land (France)
   1602Argentinian Antarctic Territory
   1603Australian Antarctic Territory
   1604British Antarctic Territory
   1605Chilean Antarctic Territory
   1606Queen Maud Land (Norway)
   1607Ross Dependency (New Zealand)

2 North-West Europe

 2North-West Europe 
  20North-West Europe, nfd
   2000North-West Europe, nfd
  21United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man
   2100United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, nfd
   2102England
   2103Isle of Man
   2104Northern Ireland
   2105Scotland
   2106Wales
   2107Guernsey
   2108Jersey
  22Ireland 
   2201Ireland
  23Western Europe
   2300Western Europe, nfd
   2301Austria
   2302Belgium
   2303France
   2304Germany
   2305Liechtenstein
   2306Luxembourg
   2307Monaco
   2308Netherlands
   2311Switzerland
  24Northern Europe
   2400Northern Europe, nfd
   2401Denmark
   2402Faroe Islands
   2403Finland
   2404Greenland
   2405Iceland
   2406Norway
   2407Sweden
   2408Aland Islands

3 Southern and Eastern Europe

 3Southern and Eastern Europe
  30Southern and Eastern Europe, nfd
   3000Southern and Eastern Europe, nfd
  31Southern Europe
   3100Southern Europe, nfd
   3101Andorra
   3102Gibraltar
   3103Holy See
   3104Italy
   3105Malta
   3106Portugal
   3107San Marino
   3108Spain
  32South Eastern Europe
   3200South Eastern Europe, nfd
   3201Albania
   3202Bosnia and Herzegovina
   3203Bulgaria
   3204Croatia
   3205Cyprus
   3206North Macedonia
   3207Greece
   3208Moldova
   3211Romania
   3212Slovenia
   3214Montenegro
   3215Serbia
   3216Kosovo
  33Eastern Europe
   3300Eastern Europe, nfd
   3301Belarus
   3302Czechia
   3303Estonia
   3304Hungary
   3305Latvia
   3306Lithuania
   3307Poland
   3308Russian Federation
   3311Slovakia
   3312Ukraine

4 North Africa and the Middle East

 4North Africa and the Middle East
  40North Africa and the Middle East, nfd
   4000North Africa and the Middle East, nfd
  41North Africa
   4100North Africa, nfd
   4101Algeria
   4102Egypt
   4103Libya
   4104Morocco
   4105Sudan
   4106Tunisia
   4107Western Sahara
   4108Spanish North Africa
   4111South Sudan
  42Middle East
   4200Middle East, nfd
   4201Bahrain
   4202Gaza Strip and West Bank
   4203Iran
   4204Iraq
   4205Israel
   4206Jordan
   4207Kuwait
   4208Lebanon
   4211Oman
   4212Qatar
   4213Saudi Arabia
   4214Syria
   4215Turkey
   4216United Arab Emirates
   4217Yemen

5 South-East Asia

 5South-East Asia 
  50South-East Asia, nfd
   5000South-East Asia, nfd
  51Mainland South-East Asia
   5100Mainland South-East Asia, nfd
   5101Myanmar
   5102Cambodia
   5103Laos
   5104Thailand
   5105Vietnam
  52Maritime South-East Asia
   5200Maritime South-East Asia, nfd
   5201Brunei Darussalam
   5202Indonesia
   5203Malaysia
   5204Philippines
   5205Singapore
   5206Timor-Leste

6 North-East Asia

 6North-East Asia 
  60North-East Asia, nfd
   6000North-East Asia, nfd
  61Chinese Asia (includes Mongolia)
   6100Chinese Asia (includes Mongolia), nfd
   6101China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)
   6102Hong Kong (SAR of China)
   6103Macau (SAR of China)
   6104Mongolia
   6105Taiwan
  62Japan and the Koreas
   6200Japan and the Koreas, nfd
   6201Japan
   6202Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (North)
   6203Korea, Republic of (South)

7 Southern and Central Asia

 7Southern and Central Asia
  70Southern and Central Asia, nfd
   7000Southern and Central Asia, nfd
  71Southern Asia
   7100Southern Asia, nfd
   7101Bangladesh
   7102Bhutan
   7103India
   7104Maldives
   7105Nepal
   7106Pakistan
   7107Sri Lanka
  72Central Asia
   7200Central Asia, nfd
   7201Afghanistan
   7202Armenia
   7203Azerbaijan
   7204Georgia
   7205Kazakhstan
   7206Kyrgyzstan
   7207Tajikistan
   7208Turkmenistan
   7211Uzbekistan

8 Americas

 8Americas  
  80Americas, nfd
   8000Americas, nfd
  81Northern America
   8100Northern America, nfd
   8101Bermuda
   8102Canada
   8103St Pierre and Miquelon
   8104United States of America
  82South America
   8200South America, nfd
   8201Argentina
   8202Bolivia
   8203Brazil
   8204Chile
   8205Colombia
   8206Ecuador
   8207Falkland Islands
   8208French Guiana
   8211Guyana
   8212Paraguay
   8213Peru
   8214Suriname
   8215Uruguay
   8216Venezuela
   8299South America, nec
  83Central America
   8300Central America, nfd
   8301Belize
   8302Costa Rica
   8303El Salvador
   8304Guatemala
   8305Honduras
   8306Mexico
   8307Nicaragua
   8308Panama
  84Caribbean 
   8400Caribbean, nfd
   8401Anguilla
   8402Antigua and Barbuda
   8403Aruba
   8404Bahamas
   8405Barbados
   8406Cayman Islands
   8407Cuba
   8408Dominica
   8411Dominican Republic
   8412Grenada
   8413Guadeloupe
   8414Haiti
   8415Jamaica
   8416Martinique
   8417Montserrat
   8421Puerto Rico
   8422St Kitts and Nevis
   8423St Lucia
   8424St Vincent and the Grenadines
   8425Trinidad and Tobago
   8426Turks and Caicos Islands
   8427Virgin Islands, British
   8428Virgin Islands, United States
   8431St Barthelemy
   8432St Martin (French part)
   8433Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
   8434Curacao
   8435Sint Maarten (Dutch part)

9 Sub-Saharan Africa

 9Sub-Saharan Africa 
  90Sub-Saharan Africa, nfd
   9000Sub-Saharan Africa, nfd
  91Central and West Africa
   9100Central and West Africa, nfd
   9101Benin
   9102Burkina Faso
   9103Cameroon
   9104Cabo Verde
   9105Central African Republic
   9106Chad
   9107Congo, Republic of
   9108Congo, Democratic Republic of
   9111Cote d'Ivoire
   9112Equatorial Guinea
   9113Gabon
   9114Gambia
   9115Ghana
   9116Guinea
   9117Guinea-Bissau
   9118Liberia
   9121Mali
   9122Mauritania
   9123Niger
   9124Nigeria
   9125Sao Tome and Principe
   9126Senegal
   9127Sierra Leone
   9128Togo
  92Southern and East Africa
   9200Southern and East Africa, nfd
   9201Angola
   9202Botswana
   9203Burundi
   9204Comoros
   9205Djibouti
   9206Eritrea
   9207Ethiopia
   9208Kenya
   9211Lesotho
   9212Madagascar
   9213Malawi
   9214Mauritius
   9215Mayotte
   9216Mozambique
   9217Namibia
   9218Reunion
   9221Rwanda
   9222St Helena
   9223Seychelles
   9224Somalia
   9225South Africa
   9226Eswatini
   9227Tanzania
   9228Uganda
   9231Zambia
   9232Zimbabwe
   9299Southern and East Africa, nec

 Supplementary Codes

0Supplementary codes
 00Supplementary codes
   0000Inadequately described
   0001At sea
&Not stated 
 &&Not stated 
   &&&&Not stated
VOverseas visitor 
 VVOverseas visitor
   VVVVOverseas visitor

Number of categories:

  • One-digit level: 12
  • Two-digit level: 39  
  • Four-digit level: 293

Question(s) from the Census form

In which country was the person’s father born?

In which country was the person’s father born?
In which country was Person 1's father born?

If the person does not know their birth father, and has a second parent, please include the country of birth of the second parent here.

If the person has same-sex parents, include the country of birth of one of the two parents here.

This information is collected from everybody, even children whose parents have already provided their country of birth. This avoids making assumptions about family relationships.

Father's country of birth

Australia

England

New Zealand

India

Philippines

Vietnam

Italy

Other (please specify)

How this variable is created

Country of birth of father (BPMP) is a person variable that is created based on the response to country of birth of father question. On the paper form, respondents may either use a mark box to indicate Australia or write the name of any other country in the text field. On the online form, the question uses a combination of mark boxes for the most frequent responses expected, accompanied by a text field to capture all other responses. The options are ordered based on the relative number of responses received in the 2016 Census.

Any typed country of birth response will also appear as an option for that person’s country of birth of father.

The majority of responses for country of birth of person are captured automatically from the mark box response. Written responses are coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes. The remaining responses require manual coding processes when they cannot be coded or derived automatically.

If a person:

  • uses a former country name, it is coded to the current country name (for example, Siam would be coded to Thailand)
  • has marked Australia and given a text response, the responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra response is rejected
  • does not answer the question, and a father has been identified for the family unit on the same Census form, then the father's birthplace is coded as the father's country of birth, for that respondent.

BPMP is coded using the SACC. If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

History and changes

A question relating to BPMP was first asked in the 1921 Census, but not included again until 1971. It has been included in all Australian Censuses from 1971.

Prior to the 2001 Census, respondents were asked to write in their father's birthplace as a text response.

From 2001 to 2011, the question was simplified to a simple mark box with two options for either Australia or Overseas. This was done following the introduction of a question on a person's ancestry.

For the 2016 Census, the question format was changed to again allow respondents to provide details for the country of birth of their father where it was not Australia. Respondents were asked to use a mark box to respond for Australia, or a text field to specify any other country.

For the first time, the 2021 Census included instructions to provide guidance on situations where the birth parent is unknown and there is a second parent, or the person has same-sex parents.

There have been changes to the SACC for 2021:

  • 3302 'Czech Republic' has been changed to 'Czechia'
  • 9226 'Swaziland' has been changed to 'Eswatini'
  • 3206 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' has been changed to 'North Macedonia'
  • 2402 spelling of 'Faeroe Islands' has been changed to 'Faroe Islands'

Data use considerations

Data on country of birth provide important information on ethnicity when used with Ancestry multi response (ANCP), Language used at home (LANP) and Religious affiliation (RELP).

Related variables and glossary terms

Data downloads

Country of birth of father classification

Country of birth of parents (BPPP)

Definition

This variable indicates if a person's father and/or mother was born in Australia or overseas. It combines responses for Country of birth of mother (BPFP) and Country of birth father (BPMP) to identify the country of birth of a person’s parents (Country of birth of parents, BPPP).

The data gained from this variable, together with Country of birth of person (BPLP), allows the study of first-generation and second-generation Australians.

Scope

All persons

Categories

CodeCategory

1

Both parents born overseas

2

Father only born overseas

3

Mother only born overseas

4

Both parents born in Australia

&

Not stated – birthplace for either or both parents not stated

V

Overseas visitor

Number of categories: 6

Question(s) from the Census form

In which country was the person’s father born?

In which country was the person’s father born?
In which country was Person 1's father born?

If the person does not know their birth father, and has a second parent, please include the country of birth of the second parent here.

If the person has same-sex parents, include the country of birth of one of the two parents here.

This information is collected from everybody, even children whose parents have already provided their country of birth. This avoids making assumptions about family relationships.

Father's country of birth

Australia

England

New Zealand

India

Philippines

Vietnam

Italy

Other (please specify)

In which country was the person’s mother born?

In which country was the person’s mother born?
In which country was Person 1's mother born?

If the person does not know their birth mother, and has a second parent, please include the country of birth of the second parent here.

If the person has same-sex parents, include the country of birth of one of the two parents here.

This information is collected from everybody, even children whose parents have already provided their country of birth. This avoids making assumptions about family relationships.

Mother's country of birth

Australia

England

New Zealand

India

Philippines

Vietnam

Italy

Other (please specify)

How this variable is created

This variable is derived from responses for BPFP and BPMP. Responses are captured automatically from mark boxes and text responses on the form.

If a person has a 'Not stated' response for their father and/or mother’s country of birth, then BPPP is coded to 'Not stated'.’

History and changes

The two questions used to derive this variable were first asked in the 1921 Census, but not asked again until 1971. Since then, they have been asked in every Census.

Until 2001, the question asked people to write in their parents’ birthplaces. In the 2001 Census a question was also asked on ancestry. As a result, for the 2001-2011 Censuses the country of birth of parents response categories were changed to ask whether a person’s parents were born in Australia or overseas rather than collect detail on the parents’ overseas birthplaces.

For 2016 the name of the variable changed from 'Birthplace of parents' to 'Country of birth of parents'. After consultation with key data users, the question responses changed to again ask the specific birthplace of parents where it is not Australia.

No changes have been made for 2021.

Data use considerations

The questions used to derive BPPP (Country of birth of mother and Country of birth of father) changed in 2016. In 2011 both items only asked if a person's mother and father were born in Australia or overseas, whereas since 2016 the specific country of birth is asked for both parents.

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Country of birth of mother (BPFP)
  • Country of birth of person (BPLP)
  • Country of birth of father (BPMP)

Australian citizenship (CITP)

Definition

This variable records whether a person has Australian citizenship. The data is used to understand the tendency of different migrant groups to take up citizenship and to measure the size of the groups eligible to vote.

Scope

All persons

Categories

CodeCategory

1

Australian citizen

2

Not an Australian citizen

&

Not stated

V

Overseas visitor

Number of categories: 4

Question(s) from the Census form

Is the person an Australian citizen?

Is the person an Australian citizen?
Is Person 1 an Australian citizen?

If the person holds dual citizenship and one is Australian, select ‘Yes, Australian citizen’.

Person's Australian citizenship

Yes, Australian citizen

No

How this variable is created

This variable is created from responses to the Australian citizen question. The responses are captured automatically from mark box responses so the risk of processing error is minimal. Respondents are asked to mark only one response. When respondents provide more than one, responses are accepted in the order they appeared on the form and the extra response is rejected.

History and changes

A question on national citizenship has been asked on every Census since 1911. However, prior to 1986 the specific question wording asked to specify country of citizenship or their 'nationality' rather than ask if they were an Australian citizen.

For 2021 the category labels have been updated:

  • Category 1 has changed from 'Australian' to 'Australian citizen'
  • Category 2 has changed from 'Not Australian' to 'Not an Australian citizen'

Data use considerations

CITP data is useful when cross-classified with Country of birth of person (BPLP), Year of arrival in Australia (YARP) and Age (AGEP) data.

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Age (AGEP)
  • County of birth of person (BPLP)
  • Year of arrival in Australia (YARP)

Proficiency in spoken English (ENGLP)

Definition

This variable classifies a person's self-assessed proficiency in spoken English where they have identified they use a main language other than English at home (LANP). While people who use English only at home are included in this variable as a distinct category, they are not included in categories 2 to 5 which is the self-assessed ability in spoken English.

Scope

All persons

Categories

CodeCategory

1

Speaks English only

2

Uses other language and speaks English: Very well

3

Uses other language and speaks English: Well

4

Uses other language and speaks English: Not well

5

Uses other language and speaks English: Not at all

6

Not stated - both language (LANP) and proficiency in spoken English not stated

&

Not stated - language (LANP) stated, proficiency in spoken English not stated

V

Overseas visitor

Number of categories: 8

Question(s) from the Census form

Does the person use a language other than English at home?

Does the person use a language other than English at home?
Does Person 1 use a language other than English at home?

If more than one language other than English, select the one that is used most often.

Include use of sign languages (for example, AUSLAN) in the 'please specify' box.

Include use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in the 'Yes, other (please specify)' box.

More information

Person's language at home

No, English only

Yes, Mandarin

Yes, Arabic

Yes, Cantonese

Yes, Vietnamese

Yes, Italian

Yes, Greek

Yes, other (please specify)

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: Does the person use a language other than English at home?
Does Person 1 use a language other than English at home?

If more than one language other than English, select the one that is used most often.

Include use of sign languages (for example, AUSLAN) in the 'please specify' box.

Include use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in the 'Yes, other (please specify)' box.

More information

If the person uses only English at home, select 'No, English only', even if they can speak another language.

If the person lives alone, answer with the language they most commonly use with visitors in their home.

The languages listed were the most commonly reported languages spoken at home, other than English in the 2016 Census.

For a language not listed, please select the 'Yes, other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the language in the box.

For people who cannot speak, or if the person is too young to speak, record 'Not able to speak' in the 'Yes, other (please specify)' box for this question.

How well does the person speak English?

How well does the person speak English?
How well does Person 1 speak English?

Leave this question blank for people who cannot speak, or if the person is too young to speak.

Person's English ability

Very well

Well

Not well

Not at all

How this variable is created

This variable is derived from the responses to two questions on the 2021 Census.

Speaks English only

Where respondents mark that they use English only at home, they are coded to category 1, 'Speaks English only'.

Uses other language

The remainder of respondents who do use a language other than English at home are asked, 'How well does the person speak English?'. Responses to this question are captured automatically from mark box responses on the form so the risk of processing error is minimal. Respondents are asked only to mark one response. These responses are output in categories 2 to 5. Where an incorrect number of responses is provided, responses are accepted in the order they appeared on the form and the extra responses are rejected.

Not Stated

Where a respondent marks that they do use a language other than English at home but does not answer the 'How well does the person speak English?' question, they are coded to category &, 'Not stated - language (LANP) stated, proficiency in spoken English not stated'. 

Where a respondent does not answer the Language used at home question and the proficiency in spoken English question, they are coded to category 6, 'Not stated - both language (LANP) and proficiency in spoken English not stated'.

History and changes

A question relating to proficiency in spoken English/Language (ENGLP) was first asked in 1981. Prior to this, some censuses had also asked what languages were regularly used.

For 2021, the variable name changed from 'Proficiency in spoken English/language' to 'Proficiency in spoken English'.

For 2021, some category labels have been updated:

  • Categories 2 to 5 changed from 'Speaks other languages and speaks English' to 'Uses other language and speaks English'
  • Not stated categories 6 and & have had references to 'ENGP' removed.

Data use considerations

This variable is used to understand how well people can speak English, when they use a language at home that is not English. It is useful in planning and providing multilingual services.

2016 variables

In 2016 there were two output variables relating to proficiency in spoken English:

  • Proficiency in spoken English (ENGP)
  • Proficiency in spoken English/Language (ENGLP)

The ENGP variable was only applicable to those who used a language other than English or who did not state a language, whereas ENGLP was applicable to all persons. This difference caused confusion for users.

ENGP has been removed for the 2021 Census to avoid data misuse. ENGLP will be output for 2021, however the name of the variable has been changed to 'Proficiency in spoken English'.

Measurement issues

Responses to the question on proficiency in English are subjective. For example, one respondent may consider that a response of 'Well' is appropriate if they can communicate well enough to do the shopping, while another respondent may consider such a response appropriate only for people who can hold a social conversation. Proficiency in spoken English should be regarded as an indicator of a person's ability to speak English rather than a definitive measure of their ability and should be interpreted with care.

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Language Spoken at Home (LANP)

Language used at home (LANP)

Definition

This variable identifies whether a person uses a language other than English at home and if so, records the main non-English language which is used. The purpose of this variable is to identify the main languages other than English which are used in households across Australia.

Scope

All persons

Categories

Language used at home (LANP) is classified using the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2016. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page.

1 Northern European Languages

 1Northern European Languages  
  10Northern European Languages, nfd 
    1000Northern European Languages, nfd
  11Celtic   
    1100Celtic, nfd
    1101Gaelic (Scotland)
    1102Irish
    1103Welsh
    1199Celtic, nec
  12English   
    1201English
  13German and Related Languages 
    1300German and Related Languages, nfd
    1301German
    1302Letzeburgish
    1303Yiddish
  14Dutch and Related Languages 
    1400Dutch and Related Languages, nfd
    1401Dutch
    1402Frisian
    1403Afrikaans
  15Scandinavian   
    1500Scandinavian, nfd
    1501Danish
    1502Icelandic
    1503Norwegian
    1504Swedish
    1599Scandinavian, nec
  16Finnish and Related Languages 
    1600Finnish and Related Languages, nfd
    1601Estonian
    1602Finnish
    1699Finnish and Related Languages, nec

2 Southern European Languages

 2Southern European Languages  
  20Southern European Languages, nfd 
    2000Southern European Languages, nfd
  21French   
    2101French
  22Greek   
    2201Greek
  23Iberian Romance  
    2300Iberian Romance, nfd
    2301Catalan
    2302Portuguese
    2303Spanish
    2399Iberian Romance, nec
  24Italian   
    2401Italian
  25Maltese   
    2501Maltese
  29Other Southern European Languages
    2900Other Southern European Languages, nfd
    2901Basque
    2902Latin
    2999Other Southern European Languages, nec

3 Eastern European Languages

 3Eastern European Languages   
  30Eastern European Languages, nfd 
    3000Eastern European Languages, nfd
  31Baltic   
    3100Baltic, nfd
    3101Latvian
    3102Lithuanian
  33Hungarian   
    3301Hungarian
  34East Slavic   
    3400East Slavic, nfd
    3401Belorussian
    3402Russian
    3403Ukrainian
  35South Slavic   
    3500South Slavic, nfd
    3501Bosnian
    3502Bulgarian
    3503Croatian
    3504Macedonian
    3505Serbian
    3506Slovene
    3507Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian, so described
  36West Slavic   
    3600West Slavic, nfd
    3601Czech
    3602Polish
    3603Slovak
    3604Czechoslovakian, so described
  39Other Eastern European Languages 
    3900Other Eastern European Languages, nfd
    3901Albanian
    3903Aromunian (Macedo-Romanian)
    3904Romanian
    3905Romany
    3999Other Eastern European Languages, nec

4 Southwest and Central Asian Languages

 4Southwest and Central Asian Languages  
  40Southwest and Central Asian Languages, nfd
    4000Southwest and Central Asian Languages, nfd
  41Iranic   
    4100Iranic, nfd
    4101Kurdish
    4102Pashto
    4104Balochi
    4105Dari
    4106Persian (excluding Dari)
    4107Hazaraghi
    4199Iranic, nec
  42Middle Eastern Semitic Languages 
    4200Middle Eastern Semitic Languages, nfd
    4202Arabic
    4204Hebrew
    4206Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
    4207Chaldean Neo-Aramaic
    4208Mandaean (Mandaic)
    4299Middle Eastern Semitic Languages, nec
  43Turkic   
    4300Turkic, nfd
    4301Turkish
    4302Azeri
    4303Tatar
    4304Turkmen
    4305Uygur
    4306Uzbek
    4399Turkic, nec
  49Other Southwest and Central Asian Languages
    4900Other Southwest and Central Asian Languages, nfd
    4901Armenian
    4902Georgian
    4999Other Southwest and Central Asian Languages, nec

5 Southern Asian Languages

 5Southern Asian Languages   
  50Southern Asian Languages, nfd 
    5000Southern Asian Languages, nfd
  51Dravidian   
    5100Dravidian, nfd
    5101Kannada
    5102Malayalam
    5103Tamil
    5104Telugu
    5105Tulu
    5199Dravidian, nec
  52Indo-Aryan   
    5200Indo-Aryan, nfd
    5201Bengali
    5202Gujarati
    5203Hindi
    5204Konkani
    5205Marathi
    5206Nepali
    5207Punjabi
    5208Sindhi
    5211Sinhalese
    5212Urdu
    5213Assamese
    5214Dhivehi
    5215Kashmiri
    5216Oriya
    5217Fijian Hindustani
    5299Indo-Aryan, nec
  59Other Southern Asian Languages 
    5999Other Southern Asian Languages

6 Southeast Asian Languages

 6Southeast Asian Languages   
  60Southeast Asian Languages, nfd 
    6000Southeast Asian Languages, nfd
  61Burmese and Related Languages 
    6100Burmese and Related Languages, nfd
    6101Burmese
    6102Chin Haka
    6103Karen
    6104Rohingya
    6105Zomi
    6199Burmese and Related Languages, nec
  62Hmong-Mien   
    6200Hmong-Mien, nfd
    6201Hmong
    6299Hmong-Mien, nec
  63Mon-Khmer   
    6300Mon-Khmer, nfd
    6301Khmer
    6302Vietnamese
    6303Mon
    6399Mon-Khmer, nec
  64Tai   
    6400Tai, nfd
    6401Lao
    6402Thai
    6499Tai, nec
  65Southeast Asian Austronesian Languages
    6500Southeast Asian Austronesian Languages, nfd
    6501Bisaya
    6502Cebuano
    6503Ilokano
    6504Indonesian
    6505Malay
    6507Tetum
    6508Timorese
    6511Tagalog
    6512Filipino
    6513Acehnese
    6514Balinese
    6515Bikol
    6516Iban
    6517Ilonggo (Hiligaynon)
    6518Javanese
    6521Pampangan
    6599Southeast Asian Austronesian Languages, nec
  69Other Southeast Asian Languages 
    6999Other Southeast Asian Languages

7 Eastern Asian Languages

 7Eastern Asian Languages   
  70Eastern Asian Languages, nfd 
    7000Eastern Asian Languages, nfd
  71Chinese   
    7100Chinese, nfd
    7101Cantonese
    7102Hakka
    7104Mandarin
    7106Wu
    7107Min Nan
    7199Chinese, nec
  72Japanese   
    7201Japanese
  73Korean   
    7301Korean
  79Other Eastern Asian Languages 
    7900Other Eastern Asian Languages, nfd
    7901Tibetan
    7902Mongolian
    7999Other Eastern Asian Languages, nec

8 Australian Indigenous Languages

 8Australian Indigenous Languages  
  80Australian Indigenous Languages, nfd
    8000Australian Indigenous Languages, nfd
  81Arnhem Land and Daly River Region Languages
    8100Arnhem Land and Daly River Region Languages, nfd
    8101Anindilyakwa
    8111Maung
    8113Ngan'gikurunggurr
    8114Nunggubuyu
    8115Rembarrnga
    8117Tiwi
    8121Alawa
    8122Dalabon
    8123Gudanji
    8127Iwaidja
    8128Jaminjung
    8131Jawoyn
    8132Jingulu
    8133Kunbarlang
    8136Larrakiya
    8137Malak Malak
    8138Mangarrayi
    8141Maringarr
    8142Marra
    8143Marrithiyel
    8144Matngala
    8146Murrinh Patha
    8147Na-kara
    8148Ndjebbana (Gunavidji)
    8151Ngalakgan
    8152Ngaliwurru
    8153Nungali
    8154Wambaya
    8155Wardaman
    8156Amurdak
    8157Garrwa
    8158Kuwema
    8161Marramaninyshi
    8162Ngandi
    8163Waanyi
    8164Wagiman
    8165Yanyuwa
    8166Marridan (Maridan)
  817Kunwinjkuan 
    8170Kunwinjkuan, nfd
    8171Gundjeihmi
    8172Kune
    8173Kuninjku
    8174Kunwinjku
    8175Mayali
    8179Kunwinjkuan, nec
  818Burarran  
    8180Burarran, nfd
    8181Burarra
    8182Gun-nartpa
    8183Gurr-goni
    8189Burarran, nec
    8199Arnhem Land and Daly River Region Languages, nec
  82Yolngu Matha   
    8200Yolngu Matha, nfd
  821Dhangu  
    8210Dhangu, nfd
    8211Galpu
    8212Golumala
    8213Wangurri
    8219Dhangu, nec
  822Dhay'yi  
    8220Dhay'yi, nfd
    8221Dhalwangu
    8222Djarrwark
    8229Dhay'yi, nec
  823Dhuwal  
    8230Dhuwal, nfd
    8231Djambarrpuyngu
    8232Djapu
    8233Daatiwuy
    8234Marrangu
    8235Liyagalawumirr
    8236Liyagawumirr
    8239Dhuwal, nec
  824Dhuwala  
    8240Dhuwala, nfd
    8242Gumatj
    8243Gupapuyngu
    8244Guyamirrilili
    8246Manggalili
    8247Wubulkarra
    8249Dhuwala, nec
  825Djinang  
    8250Djinang, nfd
    8251Wurlaki
    8259Djinang, nec
  826Djinba  
    8260Djinba, nfd
    8261Ganalbingu
    8262Djinba
    8263Manyjalpingu
    8269Djinba, nec
  827Yakuy  
    8270Yakuy, nfd
    8271Ritharrngu
    8272Wagilak
    8279Yakuy, nec
  828Nhangu  
    8281Nhangu
    8282Yan-nhangu
    8289Nhangu, nec
  829Other Yolngu Matha 
    8291Dhuwaya
    8292Djangu
    8293Madarrpa
    8294Warramiri
    8295Rirratjingu
    8299Other Yolngu Matha, nec
  83Cape York Peninsula Languages 
    8300Cape York Peninsula Languages, nfd
    8301Kuku Yalanji
    8302Guugu Yimidhirr
    8303Kuuku-Ya'u
    8304Wik Mungkan
    8305Djabugay
    8306Dyirbal
    8307Girramay
    8308Koko-Bera
    8311Kuuk Thayorre
    8312Lamalama
    8313Yidiny
    8314Wik Ngathan
    8315Alngith
    8316Kugu Muminh
    8317Morrobalama
    8318Thaynakwith
    8321Yupangathi
    8322Tjungundji
    8399Cape York Peninsula Languages, nec
  84Torres Strait Island Languages 
    8400Torres Strait Island Languages, nfd
    8401Kalaw Kawaw Ya/Kalaw Lagaw Ya
    8402Meriam Mir
    8403Yumplatok (Torres Strait Creole)
  85Northern Desert Fringe Area Languages
    8500Northern Desert Fringe Area Languages, nfd
    8504Bilinarra
    8505Gurindji
    8506Gurindji Kriol
    8507Jaru
    8508Light Warlpiri
    8511Malngin
    8512Mudburra
    8514Ngardi
    8515Ngarinyman
    8516Walmajarri
    8517Wanyjirra
    8518Warlmanpa
    8521Warlpiri
    8522Warumungu
    8599Northern Desert Fringe Area Languages, nec
  86Arandic   
    8600Arandic, nfd
    8603Alyawarr
    8606Kaytetye
    8607Antekerrepenh
  861Anmatyerr  
    8610Anmatyerr, nfd
    8611Central Anmatyerr
    8612Eastern Anmatyerr
    8619Anmatyerr, nec
  862Arrernte  
    8620Arrernte, nfd
    8621Eastern Arrernte
    8622Western Arrarnta
    8629Arrernte, nec
    8699Arandic, nec
  87Western Desert Languages  
    8700Western Desert Languages, nfd
    8703Antikarinya
    8704Kartujarra
    8705Kukatha
    8706Kukatja
    8707Luritja
    8708Manyjilyjarra
    8711Martu Wangka
    8712Ngaanyatjarra
    8713Pintupi
    8714Pitjantjatjara
    8715Wangkajunga
    8716Wangkatha
    8717Warnman
    8718Yankunytjatjara
    8721Yulparija
    8722Tjupany
    8799Western Desert Languages, nec
  88Kimberley Area Languages  
    8800Kimberley Area Languages, nfd
    8801Bardi
    8802Bunuba
    8803Gooniyandi
    8804Miriwoong
    8805Ngarinyin
    8806Nyikina
    8807Worla
    8808Worrorra
    8811Wunambal
    8812Yawuru
    8813Gambera
    8814Jawi
    8815Kija
    8899Kimberley Area Languages, nec
  89Other Australian Indigenous Languages
    8900Other Australian Indigenous Languages, nfd
    8901Adnymathanha
    8902Arabana
    8903Bandjalang
    8904Banyjima
    8905Batjala
    8906Bidjara
    8907Dhanggatti
    8908Diyari
    8911Gamilaraay
    8913Garuwali
    8914Githabul
    8915Gumbaynggir
    8916Kanai
    8917Karajarri
    8918Kariyarra
    8921Kaurna
    8922Kayardild
    8924Kriol
    8925Lardil
    8926Mangala
    8927Muruwari
    8928Narungga
    8931Ngarluma
    8932Ngarrindjeri
    8933Nyamal
    8934Nyangumarta
    8935Nyungar
    8936Paakantyi
    8937Palyku/Nyiyaparli
    8938Wajarri
    8941Wiradjuri
    8943Yindjibarndi
    8944Yinhawangka
    8945Yorta Yorta
    8946Baanbay
    8947Badimaya
    8948Barababaraba
    8951Dadi Dadi
    8952Dharawal
    8953Djabwurrung
    8954Gudjal
    8955Keerray-Woorroong
    8956Ladji Ladji
    8957Mirning
    8958Ngatjumaya
    8961Waluwarra
    8962Wangkangurru
    8963Wargamay
    8964Wergaia
    8965Yugambeh
    8998Aboriginal English, so described
    8999Other Australian Indigenous Languages, nec

 

 

9 Other Languages

 9Other Languages   
  90Other Languages, nfd  
    9000Other Languages, nfd
  91American Languages  
    9101American Languages
  92African Languages  
    9200African Languages, nfd
    9201Acholi
    9203Akan
    9205Mauritian Creole
    9206Oromo
    9207Shona
    9208Somali
    9211Swahili
    9212Yoruba
    9213Zulu
    9214Amharic
    9215Bemba
    9216Dinka
    9217Ewe
    9218Ga
    9221Harari
    9222Hausa
    9223Igbo
    9224Kikuyu
    9225Krio
    9226Luganda
    9227Luo
    9228Ndebele
    9231Nuer
    9232Nyanja (Chichewa)
    9233Shilluk
    9234Tigre
    9235Tigrinya
    9236Tswana
    9237Xhosa
    9238Seychelles Creole
    9241Anuak
    9242Bari
    9243Bassa
    9244Dan (Gio-Dan)
    9245Fulfulde
    9246Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)
    9247Kirundi (Rundi)
    9248Kpelle
    9251Krahn
    9252Liberian (Liberian English)
    9253Loma (Lorma)
    9254Lumun (Kuku Lumun)
    9255Madi
    9256Mandinka
    9257Mann
    9258Moro (Nuba Moro)
    9261Themne
    9262Lingala
    9299African Languages, nec
  93Pacific Austronesian Languages 
    9300Pacific Austronesian Languages, nfd
    9301Fijian
    9302Gilbertese
    9303Maori (Cook Island)
    9304Maori (New Zealand)
    9306Nauruan
    9307Niue
    9308Samoan
    9311Tongan
    9312Rotuman
    9313Tokelauan
    9314Tuvaluan
    9315Yapese
    9399Pacific Austronesian Languages, nec
  94Oceanian Pidgins and Creoles  
    9400Oceanian Pidgins and Creoles, nfd
    9402Bislama
    9403Hawaiian English
    9404Norf'k-Pitcairn
    9405Solomon Islands Pijin
    9499Oceanian Pidgins and Creoles, nec
  95Papua New Guinea Languages 
    9500Papua New Guinea Languages, nfd
    9502Kiwai
    9503Motu (HiriMotu)
    9504Tok Pisin (Neomelanesian)
    9599Papua New Guinea Languages, nec
  96Invented Languages  
    9601Invented Languages
  97Sign Languages   
    9700Sign Languages, nfd
    9701Auslan
    9702Key Word Sign Australia
    9799Sign Languages, nec

 Supplementary codes 

0Supplementary codes   
 00Supplementary codes  
    0000Inadequately described
    0001Non-verbal, so described
    0003Swiss, so described
    0004Cypriot, so described
    0005Creole, nfd
    0006French Creole, nfd
    0007Spanish Creole, nfd
    0008Portuguese Creole, nfd
    0009Pidgin, nfd
&Not stated    
 &&Not stated   
    &&&&Not stated
VOverseas visitor   
 VVOverseas visitor  
    VVVVOverseas visitor

Number of categories:

  • One digit level: 12
  • Two digit level: 63
  • Three digit level: 63
  • Four digit level: 505

Question(s) from the Census form

Does the person use a language other than English at home?

Does the person use a language other than English at home?
Does Person 1 use a language other than English at home?

If more than one language other than English, select the one that is used most often.

Include use of sign languages (for example, AUSLAN) in the 'please specify' box.

Include use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in the 'Yes, other (please specify)' box.

More information

Person's language at home

No, English only

Yes, Mandarin

Yes, Arabic

Yes, Cantonese

Yes, Vietnamese

Yes, Italian

Yes, Greek

Yes, other (please specify)

Alternative response options - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Alternative response options to the question: Does the person use a language other than English at home? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander option included.
Does Person 2 use a language other than English at home?

If more than one language other than English, select the one that is used most often.

Include use of sign languages (for example, AUSLAN) in the 'please specify' box.

More information

Person's language at home

No, English only

Yes, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language

Yes, Mandarin

Yes, Arabic

Yes, Cantonese

Yes, Vietnamese

Yes, Italian

Yes, Greek

Yes, other (please specify)

Example

Example response to: Does the person use a language other than English at home? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander option selected.
Does Person 2 use a language other than English at home?

If more than one language other than English, select the one that is used most often.

Include use of sign languages (for example, AUSLAN) in the 'please specify' box.

More information
Person's language at home

No, English only

Yes, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language
Please specify (optional)

More information

Additional information relating to the question: Does the person use a language other than English at home?
Does Person 1 use a language other than English at home?

If more than one language other than English, select the one that is used most often.

Include use of sign languages (for example, AUSLAN) in the 'please specify' box.

Include use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in the 'Yes, other (please specify)' box.

More information

If the person uses only English at home, select ‘No, English only’, even if they can speak another language.

If the person lives alone, answer with the language they most commonly use with visitors in their home.

The languages listed were the most commonly reported languages spoken at home, other than English in the 2016 Census.

For a language not listed, please select the 'Yes, other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the language in the box.

For people who cannot speak, or if the person is too young to speak, record 'Not able to speak' in the 'Yes, other (please specify)' box for this question.

How this variable is created

This variable is created from responses to the language used at home question. Respondents may either use a mark box to indicate the language used at home or write the name of the language in the text field. When a person marks more than one language or marks a language and gives a text response, responses are accepted in the order they appeared on the form and the extra response is rejected.

The majority of responses for LANP are captured automatically from the mark box response. Written responses are coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes. The remaining responses require manual coding processes when they could not be coded or derived automatically.

If a response is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

History and changes

A question relating to languages spoken was first asked in the 1933 Census, but not again until the 1976 Census. All Censuses since then have included a similar question.

In 1933, the question asked people who could not read and write in English but were able to read and write in a foreign language, to state that language. In 1976, people were asked for all languages spoken. In 1981 and 1986, all people were asked if they spoke a language other than English at home and, if so, how well they spoke English. In addition to this, since 1991 people have been asked to name their non-English language.

In the 2021 Census, the question wording was amended to include the word 'use' rather than 'speak' to better accommodate members of the community who use sign language. 

The response category order has changed based on the most common answers from the 2016 Census:

  • 'Yes, Italian' changed from 3rd to 6th position
  • 'Yes, Arabic' changed from 4th to 3rd position
  • 'Yes, Cantonese' changed from 5th to 4th position
  • 'Yes, Greek' changed from 6th to 7th position
  • 'Yes, Vietnamese' changed from 7th to 5th position

An enhancement to the online form presented a check box for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language for those respondents who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in the Indigenous status question. To improve the data collected on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, the person also had the option of specifying the language.

Data use considerations

This question only allows for one answer and therefore the number of responses shown in the category '1201 English' is not all persons who use English, but specifically persons who use only English at home.

Persons who report a language other than English to the 'language used at home' question are then asked 'How well does the person speak English?'. Responses to this question are coded to the variable Proficiency in spoken English (ENGLP).

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Proficiency in spoken English (ENGLP)
  • Whether reported using an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language at home (LNGP)
  • Indigenous Status (INGP)
  • Ethnicity

Data downloads

Language used at home classification

Religious affiliation (RELP)

Definition

This variable records a person's religious affiliation. Answering this Census question is optional.

    Scope

    All persons

    Categories

    This variable is coded using the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 2016. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page.

    1 Buddhism

    1 Buddhism  
     101Buddhism 
      1011Buddhism

    2 Christianity

    2Christianity 
     200Christianity, nfd
      2000Christianity, nfd
     201Anglican 
      2012Anglican Church of Australia
      2013Anglican Catholic Church
      2019Anglican, nec
     203Baptist 
      2031Baptist
     205Brethren 
      2051Brethren
     207Catholic 
      2070Catholic, nfd
      2071Western Catholic
      2072Maronite Catholic
      2073Melkite Catholic
      2074Ukrainian Catholic
      2075Chaldean Catholic
      2076Syro Malabar Catholic
      2079Catholic, nec
     211Churches of Christ
      2110Churches of Christ, nfd
      2111Churches of Christ (Conference)
      2112Church of Christ (Non-denominational)
      2113International Church of Christ
     213Jehovah's Witnesses
      2131Jehovah's Witnesses
     215Latter-day Saints
      2150Latter-day Saints, nfd
      2151The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
      2152Community of Christ
     217Lutheran 
      2171Lutheran
     221Oriental Orthodox
      2210Oriental Orthodox, nfd
      2212Armenian Apostolic
      2214Coptic Orthodox Church
      2215Syrian Orthodox Church
      2216Ethiopian Orthodox Church
      2219Oriental Orthodox, nec
     222Assyrian Apostolic
      2220Assyrian Apostolic, nfd
      2221Assyrian Church of the East
      2222Ancient Church of the East
      2229Assyrian Apostolic, nec
     223Eastern Orthodox
      2230Eastern Orthodox, nfd
      2231Albanian Orthodox
      2232Antiochian Orthodox
      2233Greek Orthodox
      2234Macedonian Orthodox
      2235Romanian Orthodox
      2236Russian Orthodox
      2237Serbian Orthodox
      2238Ukrainian Orthodox
      2239Eastern Orthodox, nec
     225Presbyterian and Reformed
      2250Presbyterian and Reformed, nfd
      2251Presbyterian
      2252Reformed
      2253Free Reformed
     227Salvation Army
      2271Salvation Army
     231Seventh-day Adventist
      2311Seventh-day Adventist
     233Uniting Church
      2331Uniting Church
     24Pentecostal 
      2400Pentecostal, nfd
      2401Apostolic Church (Australia)
      2402Australian Christian Churches (Assemblies of God)
      2403Bethesda Ministries International (Bethesda Churches)
      2404C3 Church Global (Christian City Church)
      2406International Network of Churches (Christian Outreach Centres)
      2407CRC International (Christian Revival Crusade)
      2411Foursquare Gospel Church
      2412Full Gospel Church of Australia (Full Gospel Church)
      2413Revival Centres
      2414Rhema Family Church
      2415United Pentecostal
      2416Acts 2 Alliance
      2417Christian Church in Australia
      2418Pentecostal City Life Church
      2421Revival Fellowship
      2422Victory Life Centre
      2423Victory Worship Centre
      2424Worship Centre Network
      2499Pentecostal, nec
     28Other Protestant
      2800Other Protestant, nfd
      2801Aboriginal Evangelical Missions
      2802Born Again Christian
      2803Christian and Missionary Alliance
      2804Church of the Nazarene
      2805Congregational
      2806Ethnic Evangelical Churches
      2807Independent Evangelical Churches
      2808Wesleyan Methodist Church
      2811Christian Community Churches of Australia
      2812Methodist, so described
      2813United Methodist Church
      2899Other Protestant, nec
     29Other Christian
      2900Other Christian, nfd
      2901Apostolic Church of Queensland
      2902Christadelphians
      2903Christian Science
      2904Gnostic Christians
      2905Liberal Catholic Church
      2906New Apostolic Church
      2907New Churches (Swedenborgian)
      2908Ratana (Maori)
      2911Religious Science
      2912Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
      2913Temple Society
      2915Grace Communion International (Worldwide Church of God)
      2999Other Christian, nec

    3 Hinduism

    3Hinduism  
     301Hinduism 
      3011Hinduism

    4 Islam

    4Islam  
     401Islam 
      4011Islam

    5 Judaism

    5Judaism  
     501Judaism 
      5011Judaism

    6 Other Religions

    6Other Religions 
     601Australian Aboriginal Traditional Religions
      6011Australian Aboriginal Traditional Religions
     603Baha'i 
      6031Baha'i
     605Chinese Religions
      6050Chinese Religions, nfd
      6051Ancestor Veneration
      6052Confucianism
      6053Taoism
      6059Chinese Religions, nec
     607Druse 
      6071Druse
     611Japanese Religions
      6110Japanese Religions, nfd
      6111Shinto
      6112Sukyo Mahikari
      6113Tenrikyo
      6119Japanese Religions, nec
     613Nature Religions
      6130Nature Religions, nfd
      6131Animism
      6132Druidism
      6133Paganism
      6135Wiccan (Witchcraft)
      6139Nature Religions, nec
     615Sikhism 
      6151Sikhism
     617Spiritualism 
      6171Spiritualism
     69Miscellaneous Religions
      6901Mandaean
      6902Yezidi
      6991Caodaism
      6992Church of Scientology
      6993Eckankar
      6994Rastafari
      6995Satanism
      6996Theosophy
      6997Jainism
      6998Zoroastrianism
      6999Religious Groups, nec

    7 Secular Beliefs and Other Spiritual Beliefs and No Religious Affiliation

    7Secular Beliefs and Other Spiritual Beliefs and No Religious Affiliation
      7000Secular Beliefs and Other Spiritual Beliefs and No Religious Affiliation, nfd
     71No Religion, (so described)
      7101No Religion, so described
     72Secular Beliefs
      7200Secular Beliefs, nfd
      7201Agnosticism
      7202Atheism
      7203Humanism
      7204Rationalism
      7299Secular Beliefs, nec
     73Other Spiritual Beliefs
      7300Other Spiritual Beliefs, nfd
      7301Multi Faith
      7302New Age
      7303Own Spiritual Beliefs
      7304Theism
      7305Unitarian Universalism
      7399Other Spiritual Beliefs, nec

    Supplementary Codes

    Supplementary Codes 
    0Inadequately described 
     000Inadequately described
       0000 Inadequately described
    &Not stated  
     &&&Not stated 
       &&&& Not stated
    VOverseas visitor 
     VVVOverseas visitor
       VVVV Overseas visitor

    Number of categories:

    • One digit level: 10
    • Two digit/three digit level: 38
    • Four digit level: 151

    Question(s) from the Census form

    What is the person's religion?

    What is the person’s religion?
    What is Person 1's religion?

    Answering this question is OPTIONAL.

    Examples of 'Other': Lutheran, Salvation Army, Judaism, Taoism, Atheism.

    More information

    Person's religion

    No religion

    Catholic

    Anglican (Church of England)

    Uniting Church

    Islam

    Buddhism

    Presbyterian

    Hinduism

    Greek Orthodox

    Baptist

    Other (please specify)

    More information

    Additional information relating to the question on: What is the person's religion?
    What is Person 1's religion?

    Answering this question is OPTIONAL.

    Examples of 'Other': Lutheran, Salvation Army, Judaism, Taoism, Atheism.

    More information

    The religious groups listed were those most commonly reported in the 2016 Census. For all other religions, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the details in the box.

    If the person's religion is an Eastern Catholic religion such as Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Syro Malabar Catholic or Ukrainian Catholic, provide the full name of the religion in the 'Other (please specify)' box.

    If the person's religion is an Orthodox religion such as Macedonian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox or Armenian Orthodox, provide the full name of the religion in the 'Other (please specify)' box.

    People who have non-theistic religious beliefs or other life philosophies should record their response in the 'Other (please specify)' box.

    Examples of non-religious beliefs include Agnosticism, Atheism and Rationalism.

    If the person identifies with no religion at all, select the 'No religion' response.

    How this variable is created

    This variable is created from responses to the religious affiliation question, which are coded to the ASCRG.

    Respondents could use one of the mark boxes to indicate their religious affiliation or write the name of their religion in the text field. The question includes the 10 most common responses from the 2016 Census as mark boxes, as well as a write in text box. 

    Responses are coded accordingly:

    • Most responses are captured automatically from a mark box response.
    • Written responses are coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes.
    • Remaining responses require manual coding processes when they could not be coded or derived automatically.
    • When more than one religion or a mark box religion and a text response is recorded, the responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra response is rejected.
    • If a religion is not listed in the classification, it is coded to 'Inadequately described'.

    History and changes

    A question on religion has been included in all Australian censuses since 1911. Answering this question has always been optional, the very nature of which is provided for in legislation.

    The ASCRG was first published in 1996 and has been used to code religious affiliation for all Australian censuses since. Throughout this time, the classification has evolved to reflect the diverse religious affiliations identified amongst Australia’s population.

    From 1991 to 2011 the 'No religion' response category was the last response option. For 2016, a change was made to the question format, moving this category to the first response option. This change was made following the 2016 Census topic review process, where many submissions recommended changes to the Religious affiliation question. 'No religion' was again the first response option in 2021.

    For 2021, the response category order has been updated based on the most common responses in the 2016 Census:

    • 'Presbyterian' moved from 5th to 7th position
    • 'Islam' moved from 7th to 5th position
    • 'Greek Orthodox' moved from 8th to 9th position
    • 'Baptist' moved from 9th to 10th position
    • 'Hinduism' moved from 10th to 8th position.

    Changes have also been made to the 'other' examples given in the question instructions.

    Data use considerations

    The Census question is intended to measure religious affiliation, which may be different from a person's practice of or participation in a religious activity. It allows people to respond with secular or spiritual beliefs and to indicate if they have no religious affiliation at all.

    Data on religious affiliation is used for:

    • planning the location of educational facilities, aged care and other social services provided by religion-based organisations
    • planning the location of church buildings
    • the assigning of chaplains to hospitals, prisons, armed services, and universities
    • the allocation of time on public radio and other media
    • sociological research.

    Related variable and glossary terms

    Data downloads

    Religious affiliation classification

    Year of arrival in Australia (YARP)

    Definition

    This variable is applicable to persons born overseas and records the year they first arrived in Australia to live for one year or more.

    See also: Year of arrival in Australia (ranges) (YARRP)

    Scope

    Persons born overseas who will be in Australia for more than one year

    Categories

    CodeCategory

    1905 - 2021

    1905 to 2021 singly

    &&&&

    Not stated

    @@@@

    Not applicable

    VVVV

    Overseas visitor

    Number of categories: 120

    Not applicable (@@@@) category comprises:

    • Persons who did not state their country of birth
    • Persons born in Australia (includes Other Territories)

    Question(s) from the Census form

    In which country was the person born?

    In which country was the person born?
    In which country was Person 1 born?

    The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

    Person's country of birth

    Australia

    England

    New Zealand

    India

    Philippines

    Vietnam

    Italy

    Other (please specify)

    Example

    Example response to the question: In which country was the person born? England option selected
    In which country was Person 1 born?

    The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

    Person's country of birth

    Australia

    England (selected response)

    New Zealand

    India

    Philippines

    Vietnam

    Italy

    Other (please specify)

    Example

    Example response to the question: In which country was the person born? Australia option selected
    In which country was Person 1 born?

    The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

    Person's country of birth

    Australia (selected response)

    England

    New Zealand

    India

    Philippines

    Vietnam

    Italy

    Other (please specify)

    Arrival in Australia
    This question does not apply, based on your answer to the Country of Birth question.

    In what year did the person first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?

    In what year did the person first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?
    In what year did Person 1 first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?

    More information

    Year

    OR

    Will be in Australia for less than one year

    More information

    Additional information relating to the question: In what year did the person first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?
    In what year did Person 1 first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?

    More information

    This question asks overseas-born people to provide the calendar year when they first arrived in Australia with the intention of staying for at least one year. Please enter the year of first arrival in Australia and not the year of the most recent arrival.

    How this variable is created

    The Country of birth of person (BPLP) variable is used to determine if a person was born in Australia or overseas. Australia refers to the geographical Australia defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

    Data for this variable is captured automatically from written numeric responses, or the 'Will be in Australia less than one year' mark box. High and low values are checked manually to ensure that they match the actual response on the form. A check is made to ensure that a person's stated age is compatible with period of residence.

    If a respondent answers they:

    • Usually reside in another country, they are coded to 'Overseas visitor'
    • Were born overseas and usually reside in Australia but will be in Australia for less than one year, they are coded to 'Not stated'
    • Were born in Australia, they are coded to 'Not applicable'

    History and changes

    A question on year of arrival in Australia, or length of residence, was first asked in the 1911 Census and has been asked in every Census since.

    In Censuses prior to 1991, the question was asked in terms of number of completed years of residence in Australia.

    In 1996, data was collected in categories ranging from 'Before 1981' to '1996'.

    From 2001 onwards, data was collected by single year with valid responses in 2011 being in the range 1895 to 2011. For 2016, data was collected by single year with valid responses in the range 1900 to 2016.

    For 2021, data is collected by single year with valid responses in the range of 1905 to 2021.

    Data use considerations

    When this variable is cross-classified with other Census data, it is useful for analysing how the characteristics of migrants change with their length of time in Australia. 

    Data is available in years singly from 1905 to 2021 (YARP), with 2021 referring to the period from 1 January to 10 August 2021 only.

    A check is performed to ensure that a person's stated age is compatible with their period of residence.

    Related variables and glossary terms

    Year of arrival in Australia (ranges) (YARRP)

    Definition

    This variable is applicable to persons born overseas and records the year in ranges when they first arrived in Australia to live for one year or more.

    See also: Year of Arrival in Australia (YARP)

    Scope

    Persons born overseas who will be in Australia for more than one year

    Categories

    CodeCategory

    1

    Arrived 1905 - 1950

    2

    Arrived 1951 - 1960

    3

    Arrived 1961 - 1970

    4

    Arrived 1971 - 1980

    5

    Arrived 1981 - 1990

    6

    Arrived 1991 - 2000

    7

    Arrived 2001 - 2010

    8

    Arrived 2011 - 2020

    9

    Arrived 1 January 2021 - 10 August 2021

    &

    Not stated

    @

    Not applicable

    V

    Overseas visitor

    Number of categories: 12

    Not applicable (@) category comprises:

    • Persons who did not state their country of birth
    • Persons born in Australia (includes Other Territories)

    Question(s) from the Census form

    In which country was the person born?

    In which country was the person born?
    In which country was Person 1 born?

    The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

    Person's country of birth

    Australia

    England

    New Zealand

    India

    Philippines

    Vietnam

    Italy

    Other (please specify)
    Example response to the question: In which country was the person born? England option selected.
    In which country was Person 1 born?

    The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

    Person's country of birth

    Australia

    England (selected response)

    New Zealand

    India

    Philippines

    Vietnam

    Italy

    Other (please specify)
    Example response to the question: In which country was the person born? Australia option selected.
    In which country was Person 1 born?

    The countries listed were the most commonly reported countries of birth in the 2016 Census. For all other countries of birth, please select the 'Other (please specify)' option and enter the name of the country in the box.

    Person's country of birth

    Australia (selected response)

    England

    New Zealand

    India

    Philippines

    Vietnam

    Italy

    Other (please specify)

    Arrival in Australia
    This question does not apply, based on your answer to the Country of Birth question.

    In what year did the person first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?

    In what year did the person first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?
    In what year did Person 1 first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?

    More information

    Year

    OR

    Will be in Australia for less than one year

    More information

    Additional information relating to the question on: In what year did the person first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?
    In what year did Person 1 first arrive in Australia to live for one year or more?

    More information

    This question asks overseas-born people to provide the calendar year when they first arrived in Australia with the intention of staying for at least one year. Please enter the year of first arrival in Australia and not the year of the most recent arrival.

    How this variable is created

    The Country of birth of person (BPLP) variable is used to determine if a person was born in Australia or overseas. Australia refers to the geographical Australia defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

    Data for this variable is captured automatically from written numeric responses, or the 'Will be in Australia less than one year' mark box. High and low values are checked manually to ensure that they match the actual response on the form. A check is made to ensure that a person's stated age is compatible with period of residence.

    If a respondent answers they:

    • Usually reside in another country, they are coded to 'Overseas visitor'
    • Were born overseas and usually reside in Australia but will be in Australia for less than one year, they are coded to 'Not stated'
    • Were born in Australia, they are coded to 'Not applicable'

    History and changes

    A question on year of arrival in Australia, or length of residence, was first asked in the 1911 Census and has been asked in every Census since.

    In Censuses prior to 1991, the question was asked in terms of number of completed years of residence in Australia.

    In 1996, data was collected in categories ranging from 'Before 1981' to '1996'.

    From 2001 onwards, data was collected by single year with valid responses in 2011 being in the range 1895 to 2011. For 2016, data was collected by single year with valid responses in the range 1900 to 2016.

    For 2021, the year ranges for Year of arrival (YARRP) have been updated.

    Related variables and glossary terms

    • Year of arrival in Australia (YARP)
    • Country of birth of person (BPLP)