Latest release

Country of birth of parents (BPPP)

Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period
2021

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)