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Religious Affiliation

Religious Affiliation (RELP)

This variable records a person's religious affiliation.

A question on religion has been included in all Australian Censuses, but answering this question has always been optional. The option not to answer this question is provided for in legislation.

The non-response rate for this variable was 8.6% (11.2% in 2006). As this question is optional, it generally records a higher non-response rate than compared with most Census variables. More information is available from the 2011 Census non-response quality statement.

Most of the data processed for Religious Affiliations (RELP) (88.3%) was captured automatically from mark box responses on the form and the risk of introducing processing error using automatic mark box coding is considered minimal. The remaining responses, consisting mainly of written responses, were coded using a combination of automatic reading and coding processes (10.6%), and manual coding processes (1.2%). In a small proportion of cases (testing has shown that this is around 1.0%), respondents provide more than one response. In these cases, responses were accepted in the order they appeared on the form and the additional responses were ignored.

The Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), released in 2011 was used to code data for RELP. This 2011 minor review of the ASCRG resulted in minimal change. There were no changes to the broad, narrow or religion groups of the classification. There were however changes to the coding index, with three religious groups added.

When completing their Census Form, some people provide responses which cannot be coded. In these instances, an 'Inadequately Described' code is allocated during processing. There was a small increase in these responses, which for 2011 comprised 0.6% of the data (increasing from 0.5% in 2006).

There were minimal changes to the forms used to collected data in 2011 compared to the forms used to collect data in 2006. The changes for the religion question (question 19 on the Census Household Form), involved the repositioning of 'Buddhism', 'Greek Orthodox', Islam' and 'Baptist'. These changes to the form were a result of analysis of the 2006 Census.

More information on RELP is available in the 2011 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0).

Question 19 as it appeared on the 2011 Census Household Form

Image of question 19 from the 2011 Census
A text only version of this question is also available

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2011 Census Dictionary