Australian Bureau of Statistics
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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There are four alternatives for the standard question module for Religious Affiliation. The option used will depend on collection needs, including form space and cost considerations.
Answering a question about Religious Affiliation is optional in ABS censuses and surveys as it is considered a sensitive topic. Section 14 (2) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which addresses the issue of refusal or failure to answer questions, states that this 'does not apply in relation to a refusal or failure by a person to answer a question, or supply particulars, relating to the person's religious beliefs.' ABS surveys must clearly state that answering the question is optional.
To improve data quality, it is important to advise respondents that if they do not identify with a religion, they should still answer the question by marking the 'No religion' tick box.
The tick box lists for alternatives one and two of the question module include religious groups based on their statistical significance in the Australian context. The lists are designed for efficiency and economy when coding responses. The lists imply no view by the ABS of the relative importance of any religious group or groups. The lists are reviewed when data indicate that different religious groups have been more or less frequently reported in the ABS Census and surveys.
The tick box lists in alternatives one and two can be extended where circumstances enable longer lists, consistent with the ASCRG, to be displayed, such as in electronic collection drop down lists. Similarly, if there are space constraints on paper forms, the tick box lists can be truncated. The 'No religion' tick box should always be included
'Other - please specify' is included to enable respondents whose religious group is not listed to record their religious affiliation in the space provided.
Alternatives three and four of the question module can be used when detailed religious affiliation data is required from a survey instrument which has space constraints. Additional coding costs may be incurred since each response will need to be matched to an entry in the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) (cat. no. 1266.0) coding index.
Each alternative to the question module may be accompanied by a brief explanatory note about why Religious Affiliation is collected and detailed instructions about how to answer the question. The explanatory note can be included with the chosen question module or in supplementary documentation. The recommended text for the explanatory note is in Appendix A .
Standard input categories
The standard input categories are the same as the categories of the ASCRG (cat. no. 1266.0). For operational reasons, supplementary codes also exist to enable inadequately described responses to be coded.
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This page last updated 25 September 2012