Document Type

Working Paper


For more than a quarter of a centuiy, Australian social scientists have commented on the deficiencies of country of birth as an index of ethnic origin (e.g. Price and Zubrzycki, 1962). National boundaries often do not coincide with the historical, geographical, and cultural bonds uniting people with a common ancestry, and even if they once did political realignments may break the nexus. As the number and size of different ethnic groups in the Australian population has increased, so has the demand for a measure of ethnicity that goes beyond data collected in earlier Australian censuses, for example birthplace, religion, race, and, more recently, birthplace of parents.