[WWW - 2023.07.31]
Identifying and Definitional Attributes
QH 040161 v6
Data Element
Data Element
The country in which a person was born.
Clinical and administrative purposes and individual identification.
Country of birth
Representational Attributes
Numeric Character
Permissible Values


A valid code from the current corporate reference data system (CRDS) Country (SACC) data set maintained by Statistical Standards & Strategies, Health Statistics Unit (HSU).
Supplementary Values


Collection and Usage Attributes
The Standard Australian Classification of Countries 2011 (SACC) is an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) classification that includes:
- Fully independent countries (sovereign nation states),
- Administrative subdivisions of the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and
- External territories and dependencies of independent countries.

A country, even if it comprises other discrete political entities such as states, is treated as a single unit for all data domain purposes. Parts of a political entity are not included in different groups. Thus, Hawaii is included in Northern America (as part of the identified country United States of America), despite being geographically close to and having similar social and cultural characteristics as the units classified to Polynesia.

These codes commence with 000 and facilitate the coding of data which present particular problems in that a country code cannot be allocated.

0000 Inadequately described
To be used when insufficient country of birth information is provided or the information is unknown (e.g. when a person is unconscious).

0001 At sea
To be used when a person was born at sea.

0003 Not stated
To be used when no country of birth information is provided (e.g. when a person refuses to provide the information).
Should not be blank
Some data collections ask respondents to specify their country of birth. In others, a pre-determined set of countries is specified as part of the question, usually accompanied by an 'other (please specify)' category.

Recommended questions are:
In which country were you/was the client/was (name) born?
Other (please specify)

Alternatively, a list of countries may be used based on, for example common Census responses.
In which country were you/was the client/was (name) born?
New Zealand
Other (please specify)

In either case, coding of data should conform to the SACC.

Sometimes respondents are simply asked to specify whether they were born in either 'English speaking' or 'non-English speaking' countries but this question is of limited use and this method of collection is not recommended.

If a country no longer exists or has changed name clarification as to the correct code to apply should be sought from the HSU who maintain the statewide reference data for countries.
Country of birth is important in the study of access to services by different population sub-groups. Country of birth is the most easily collected and consistently reported of a range of possible data items that may indicate cultural or language diversity. Country of birth may be used in conjunction with other data elements for example Period of residence in Australia, to derive more sophisticated measures of access to (or need for) services by different population sub-groups. This metadata item is consistent with that used in ABS collections and is recommended for use whenever there is a requirement for comparison with ABS data. Note that the SACC is mappable to but not identical to Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS).
Relational Attributes
Related Metadata References

Related Metadata References_IR

  • 1 - 4
ViewRelationshipMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifier & VersionApproval Status
SupersedesData ElementData ElementPerson-country of birthQH 040161 Version 5Superseded
Has been superseded byData ElementData ElementPerson-country of birth (SACC 2011, v2.2)QH 040161 Version 7Superseded
Relates toData ElementData ElementPerson-preferred language (ASCL 2011 Index)QH 040722 Version 2Superseded
Relates toData ElementData ElementPerson-preferred language (ASCL 2011)QH 041586 Version 2Superseded
Implementation in Metadata Sets


  • 1 - 5
ViewMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifer & VersionObligationApproval StatusEffective FromEffective To
Information AssetData CollectionElective Surgery Data Collection (ESDC)QH 020110 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-201230-Jun-2013
Information AssetData CollectionEmergency Data Collection (EDC)QH 020159 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-201230-Jun-2013
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Cancer Registry (QCR) Data CollectionQH 020002 Version 1Superseded01-Jul-201230-Jun-2013
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Hospital Admitted Patient Data Collection (QHAPDC)QH 020001 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-201230-Jun-2013
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC)QH 020003 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-201230-Jun-2013
Source and Reference Attributes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Standards Australia
METeOR Person-country of birth, code (SACC 2011) NNNN, identifier 459973, Health, Standard 13/10/2011 https://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/459973/meteorItemView/long
ABS cat. no. 1269.0 Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) 2011 (Second edition, Revision 1)
AS 5017-2006 Health Care Client Identification, Sydney: Standards Australia