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Classification and coding process

Classification criteria

Each area unit must be a single geographic entity with a unique name referring to a geographical feature. Area units of main or secondary urban areas generally coincide with suburbs or parts thereof. Area units within urban areas normally contain a population of 3,000 to 5,000 though this can vary due to such things as industrial areas, port areas, rural areas and so on within the urban area boundaries.

In rural areas, the straddling of some territorial authorities over regional boundaries has resulted in a number of area units having only two or three meshblocks and a very low population count.

Classification

The standard classification of area unit is a flat classification and contains 2,020 categories. The classification is released annually on the 1st of January. This means that any changes to the area unit pattern caused by local government boundary changes will not be incorporated into statistical outputs until the 1st of January of the following year.

The area unit pattern is continually assessed but changes are only made under three circumstances. Changes are made following the alteration of local authority boundaries; general review is carried out in the year prior to each Census of Population and Dwellings, and, during the fifteen or twenty year review of statistically defined urban areas. Therefore the annual update may have no changes from the previous classification.

You can download the full classification under the 'Available files' heading.

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