Classification is one of the cornerstones of statistics. Without the accurate and systematic arrangement of data according to common properties, statistical output can not be comparable.
Over the years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has expanded greatly the scope and sophistication of its classification systems and methods. Comprehensive classifications now exist in many fields. Regular reviews are conducted to ensure that economic and social changes are reflected in the classifications, and where relevant and possible, Australian statistical classifications are integrated with international standards.
This Guide replaces the previous ABS publication A Guide to Major ABS Classifications (Cat. no. 1291.0) published in 1991 and documents any changes to ABS classifications that have occurred since that time. The Guide provides an overview of current ABS classifications. In doing so it assists users wishing to gain a broad understanding of these classifications, which, in turn, aids the interpretation and analysis of ABS statistics.
The Guide also aims to encourage the wider application of national classification systems by other producers of statistics including public and private sector organisations. This would enhance the generation of statistics that can be used in conjunction with the statistical output of the ABS and other bodies.
Greater use of a common statistical framework throughout Australia not only increases efficiency, but also enriches the data that can be drawn upon by the community in decision-making.
The ABS always welcomes comments on the classifications which it uses. Comments should be forwarded to the contacts specified for each classification.
T. J. Skinner
Acting Austrailan Statistician