The Standard Classification of Countries and Areas of Interest (SCCAI) 2018 was developed to increase coherence of the list of countries used within Statistics Canada and to be more consistent with Government of Canada norms. This list of countries and areas includes those for which statistical data are compiled. To satisfy the broadest possible range of applications, all entities in the list are mutually exclusive. For instance, China, Hong Kong and Macao are considered as separate entities for the purpose of this classification. This list of countries and areas of interest forms the base level of the classification and applies to both economic and social statistics.
There are 251 countries or areas in the SCCAI 2018, including the 249 countries or areas found in the international standard ISO 3166-1:2013Footnote 1. The two additional entries in the SCCAI that are not in the ISO list are Kosovo, which was recognized as a country by Canada in 2008, and Sark, which was recognized as an area by the United Nations in 2011. The names of countries or areas refer to their short form used and not necessarily to their full names. They are based on the short names used in the ISO standard and were modified both to reflect Canadian norms as well as to follow specific naming rules adopted for the Canadian list. The modifications to reflect Canadian norms were done based on consulting the Global Affairs Canada website as well as examining responses to the 2016 Census of Population question for the place of birth variable. The specific naming rules adopted for the Canadian list are:
- Use of short form of country names wherever practicable and/or to avoid confusion;
- Use of commas for sorting in alphabetical order; and
- Use of long form of country names to avoid confusion.
These changes to the names have resulted in differences between SCCAI 2018 and ISO 3166-1:2013.
The SCCAI provides a list of the names of countries or areas of interest in order of their corresponding five-digit SCCAI code. The first two digits in the SCCAI code correspond to the hierarchical structure in the Countries and Areas of Interest for Social Statistics - SCCAI 2018, while the last three digits represent the United Nations numeric codes (NUM-3) for countries or areas. Also included are internationally used three-digit numerical codes, two-character alpha codes and three-character alpha codes.
In addition, historical revisions of countries and areas of interest are available to users who compile longitudinal data on countries and areas of interest.
The material on current and historical countries and areas of interest is presented here to help users who compile longitudinal data on countries and areas of interest to assign those data to the right current or formerly used country names and codes. A start and end date are provided to define the period of validity of country names and codes; there is no end date when the country names or codes are current. This list, which compiles changes to country names and codes since 1970, is based on information gathered from the following sources:
- current and previous editions of the standard ISO 3166-1, Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country codes;
- ISO 3166-3 Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 3: Code for formerly used names of countries;
- newsletters related to ISO 3166-1 and ISO 3166-3; and
- current and previous editions of the United Nations Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use.
Code: Five-digit numerical code defined in the variant for social statistics, Countries and Areas of Interest for Social Statistics (SCCAI).
Num-3: Three-digit numerical code defined by the United Nations.
Alpha-2: Two-character alpha code defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Alpha-3: Three-character alpha code defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Relation to previous version
This is a revision of the previous Standard Classification of Countries and Areas of Interest (SCCAI) 2017. This standard includes a classification variant, Countries and Areas of Interest for Social Statistics - SCCAI 2018, that provides standard groupings of countries and associated codes for publication purposes. Usage notes are included with the standard.
Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards
This standard is compatible with the list of countries or areas included in the International Standard for country codes ISO 3166-1, except for the recognition of Kosovo and Sark. The coding structure follows the ISO coding structure, with countries having three-digit numeric codes, two-character alpha codes, and three-character alpha codes. New codes were assigned to Kosovo and Sark based on an ISO clause which places codes at the disposal of users who need to add further names of countries or areas of interest to their list.
The 249 countries and areas in the ISO 3166-1:2013Footnote 1standard includes 240 of the 241 countries or areas for which statistical data are compiled by the Statistics Division of the United Nations SecretariatFootnote 2. The entity Channel Islands, which regroups Guernsey, Jersey and Sark, is an intermediate level not retained in ISO or SCCAI.