International Family of Classifications

System of National Accounts: Classification of Institutional Sectors (SNA: Classification of Institutional Sectors)

Basic Bibliographic Information

To Be Determined
European Communities, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations and World Bank: System of National Accounts 2008, New York: 2009. Sales No. E.08.XVII.29, ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/2/Rev.5 ISBN 978-92-1-161522-7
United Nations Statistics Division
Available Formats:
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Year Adopted:
Year Published:
Available Languages (besides English):
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Purpose of the Classification

Statistical Domains:
2.2 Economic accounts
The purpose of this classification is to define and describe institutional units and the way in which they are grouped to make up the sectors and subsectors of the SNA, while taking into account the residence of the institutional units.
Main Applications:
Macro-economic accounts
Main Users:
National accounts compilers and users: international organisations, governments, central banks as well as other economic and social bodies in the public and private sectors, as e.g. analysts and forecasters.


The classification classifies all institutional units.
Concept Being Classified:
economic entities
Statistical Units:
Every institutional unit that can, in its own right, own assets, incur liabilities and engage in economic activity and transactions with other entities. Institutional units are either legal or social entities, or households, and can be divided between resident and non-resident units.
Main Principles:
The institutional sectors of the SNA group together similar kinds of institutional units. Corporations, NPIs, government units and households are intrinsically different from each other in that their economic objectives, functions and behaviour are different. Hence they go into different sectors.
Relationships to Other International Classifications:
Related To:
Major Differences (Scope, Structure, and Concepts):
Classifications of production, products, purpose of expenditure are imbedded in the SNA classifcations, and these include COFOG, COICOP, COPNI, and COPP; ISIC; CPC; SITC; HS.
The SNA describes a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macroeconomic accounts in the context of a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules. The SNA utilizes major classifications like COFOG, COICOP, COPNI, and COPP; ISIC; CPC; SITC; HS. As explained above, classifications of production, products, purpose of expenditure are imbedded in the SNA classifications.

Classification Structure

Definition of Structure:
Level Name:
Code Format:
Number of Items:
The Institutional sector classification has up to six hierarchical levels, it brings all the aspects of the potential types of disaggregation together in a comprehensive list. The list is extensive and it is unlikely that all aspects will be covered by any country in all periods as a matter of course. Some of the possible breakdowns may not contain any institutional units and others may contain so few that publication at this degree of detail is not possible. Nevertheless, the full list is shown for the sake of completeness. Not all entries in the classification have an assigned code; only those that are regularly used in international transmission programmes.
Criteria for Definition of Levels:
The levels of the classification reflect the inherent accounting structure of the 2008 SNA and another consideration is the ease of data transmission and retrieval.

Revision Information

Chronology of revisions/versions of the classification:
Year Adopted:
Title or Version Number:
Official Adopting Entity:
UN Statistical Commission
Coordinating Entity:
Intersecretariat Working Group on National Accounts (ISWGNA)
Next Review:
Reason for Latest Revision:
The revision was undertaken in response to the UN Statistical Commission's guidance to introduce treatments for those aspects of economies that have become more prominent in recent years, elaborate on points that have increasingly become the focus of analytical attention and clarify the national accounting treatment of a wide range of topics.
Major Changes:
Current codes are more detailed. This facilitates economic policies that target specific sectors. The codes for sectors were changed to allow for the identification of NPIs in all sectors, for greater detail in financial corporations and to facilitate data transmission needs.

Supporting Documents

Coding Index Available:
Training Materials and Other Documents:
Part of 2008 SNA implementation

Contact Information

Agency / Office:
UNSD, National Accounts Section
Contact Name:
National Accounts Section
+1 212 9634679