SCL - Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG 1999)

General description

Full title:

Classification of the Functions of Government



Originating authority:


Economic Statistics and Classifications Section

Legal basis:




Implementation date:


Predecessor classification(s):










Succinct description:




























Linked classification(s):



Main statistical applications:

System of National Accounts, which part is COFOG, was adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission at its fifteenth session (resolution 1 (XV) - SNA 1968) and the XXVII session (resolution 1993/5 - SNA 1993).





COFOG version published in 1968 under the name SNA classification purposes state.


Structure Level 1: Divisions (two-digit)

Structure Level 2: Groups (three-digit)

Structure Level 3: Classes (four-digit)


Level 1: 10 field marked with double-digit numeric code;

Level 2: 69 groups selected from the three-digit numerical code;

Level 3: 109 class marked with four numerical code.


This classification is part of a set of cost function classification, known as "functional" classification and which form a part of the system of national accounts since 1968. "Functional" classifications were created to classify certain transactions of producers and three institutional sectors, namely households, government and nongovernmental institutions serving households. They are described as "functional" classification because they identify the "office" - in the sense of "purpose" or "goals". These are the classifications: Classification of individual consumption by purpose (COICOP), Classification of state functions (COFOG), the purpose of classification of non-profit organizations serving households (COPNI) classification of expenditure and producers by purpose (COPP).


COFOG was developed for classifying current transactions (such as spending, subsidies and current transfers), capital expenditure (capital and forms of capital transfers) and procurement financial funds from the government and its subsectors (Source: System of National Accounts 1993).


Now we see that there are overlaps between the three classifications, COFOG, COICOP and COPNI because COICOP covers the cost of non-profit organizations serving households (NPISHs) and personal consumption expenditures for the state as well as household expenses. Division 14, COICOP Classification of Individual Consumption covers the cost of the state. In other words, the disaggregation’s defined in this area are related to those groups and classes of COFOG  where they are defined by the SNA 93 as the individual costs. COFOG is regulated  in that matter that the state costs for individual services and applied research and development (R & D) are clearly identified by function. New area of expenditure for environmental protection has been introduced. Thus, the total cost to the environment can be identified.


ISIC Rev.3 (International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities, Third Revision - ISIC Rev.3) includes correspondence with COFOG table with a breakdown for the Public Administration.


Publication of harmonized price index.



Main statistical use:


National accounts.


The purpose of the functions classification is to provide a wide range of statistics for analysis and to provide users with the means to reshape the key aggregates in the system of national accounts for certain types of analysis.



Link to webpage: