Australian Bureau of Statistics

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1200.0.55.003 - Religious Affiliation Standard, 2012, Version 1.1  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2012  First Issue
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Underlying Concepts



Name of variable

The name of the variable is Religious Affiliation.


Definition of variable

Nominal definition

The variable Religious Affiliation is defined as the religious beliefs and practices to which a person adheres or the religious group to which a person belongs.


Religious Affiliation is an attribute of the counting unit 'person'.

Operational definition

Operationally, Religious Affiliation is self assessed and, therefore, measures the religion to which a person declares they have an affiliation. There is an option for people who do not consider themselves as belonging to any religious group.



Discussion of conceptual issues

Religious Affiliation is self assessed, therefore these data cannot give an objective measure of the strength of a person's affiliation with a religion and is subject to the respondent's interpretation of the question.

As it is considered a sensitive topic, answering a question about religious affiliation is optional in Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) censuses and surveys and care should be exercised when interpreting estimates based on this question. For example non response rates in the 2006 Census were 11.2%, compared with 8.5% in 2011.




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