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Review of 2006 Census products and services

This page outlines the 2006 Census Products and Services Review, gives a summary of the feedback received during the review, and details the methods we used to conduct the review.

To access information about the 2006 Census go to About 2006 Census.

Review outline

In late 2008, Statistics NZ reviewed the 2006 Census products and services to ascertain whether we had met the information needs of census data users.

Our aim was to assess the overall effectiveness of the 2006 Census products and services by considering:

  • if and how the products and services were used
  • the topic areas covered by the different products
  • the accessibility and timing of the products
  • potential improvements.

 We conducted this research through:

  • a web survey
  • consultation with external and internal users of census data
  • detailed analysis of web hit data
  • hard copy product distribution
  • media commentaries.

 More details about this research are in the 'Review methods' section below.

Summary of feedback

Most popular 2006 Census products

According to the web survey, census data users stated that the most useful 2006 Census products were:

  1. QuickStats about a Place (regional council and territorial authority).

 Final Counts and Table Builder were also the most frequently used products.

Key themes from feedback

Some key themes emerged from general feedback regarding the 2006 Census products and product planning for future censuses:

  • ensure consistency for census data users – this allows them to gain familiarity with products and means that data is comparable over time
  • build on the successes of the 2006 Census products and services
  • the release dates for some products were delayed and this reduced their usefulness (for example, the Pacific Profiles, Quick Stats About a Place – Area Unit), so it is important to stick to the products and services mix, and be clear what's coming out and when
  • continue to make as much data as possible freely available, particularly information at a low geographic level and with multiple cross-tabulated variables
  • ensure the timely release of the final census dataset for customised enquiries, and maintain the current level of service for customised data and from the Information Centre
  • review the 2006 Confidentiality Rules – the application of the rules posed some challenges for a small but important number of key technical users. 

With the content of products available from future censuses, data users highlighted the following areas for improvement:

  • provide more information on families and households, ethnicity, travel to work, and work
  • make high-level data available sooner with more time-series information where possible
  • investigate options, capability, and responsibility for mappings, particularly for professional and technical audiences
  • consider the needs of Mäori, Pacific, and Asian communities
  • increase the awareness of metadata products externally beyond central and local government – the metadata products were all very popular with internal and external users, but we need to make them more accessible (Introduction to the Census, Data Dictionary, Definitions and Questionnaires, and Information by Variable).

Review methods

The methods we used to gain feedback on the 2006 Census products and services were:

  • External consultation meetings: We held meetings in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch with representatives from central government, local government, and the education and non-profit sectors.
  • Electronic web survey: We gained wider external user feedback via an electronic questionnaire accessible on the Statistics NZ website from the 28 October 2008 until the 18 November 2008. We let Census data users know about the questionnaire through a number of newsletters (Census Advisory, Census Advocates, Expert Data Users, and StatsNews) and some targeted emails (for example, to those who had requested iwi profiles and a number of community organisations).

We received 73 responses to the questionnaire from central government, local government, educational institutions, businesses, non-profit organisations, individuals, and other representatives (for example, district health boards, policy and research organisations).

  • Internal consultation meetings: We held internal meetings to gather qualitative feedback from our employees, as both users of the 2006 Census products and as conduits for feedback from external users (given their positions at the interface between Statistics NZ and the public).

We held meetings with Client Services and Liaison, Information Services, and Subject Matter Area experts.

  • Web hit data, hard copy product distribution, and media commentaries: For each product, we had data for URL web hits extracted and analysed, and we examined hard copy distribution lists and media coverage logs.

Thank you for your ongoing support leading up to the 2011 Census.

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