Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+


Birthplace refers to the country where a person was born, and uses the name of the country at the time of the census. Country is the current, short or official name of a country, dependency, or other area of particular geopolitical interest. The term is defined to include:

  • independent countries recognised by the New Zealand Government
  • units that are recognised geographic areas
  • administrative subdivisions of Australia and the United Kingdom
  • overseas dependencies, or external territories of independent countries.

Where the data comes from

Question 9 on the individual form.

How this data is classified

0 Supplementary codes

00 Supplementary codes

1 Oceania and Antarctica

10 Oceania and Antarctica (not further defined)

11 Australia (includes external territories)

12 New Zealand

13 Melanesia

14 Micronesia

15 Polynesia (excludes Hawaii)

16 Antarctica

2 North-West Europe

20 North-West Europe (not further defined)

21 United Kingdom

22 Ireland

23 Western Europe

24 Northern Europe

3 Southern and Eastern Europe

30 Southern and Eastern Europe (not further defined)

31 Southern Europe

32 South Eastern Europe

33 Eastern Europe

4 North Africa and the Middle East

40 North Africa and the Middle East (not further defined)

41 North Africa

42 Middle East

5 South-East Asia

50 South-East Asia (not further defined)

51 Mainland South-East Asia

52 Maritime South-East Asia

6 North-East Asia

61 North-East Asia

7 Southern and Central Asia

70 Southern and Central Asia (not further defined)

71 Southern Asia

72 Central Asia

8 The Americas

80 The Americas (not further defined)

81 Northern America

82 South America

83 Central America

84 Caribbean

9 Sub-Saharan Africa

90 Sub-Saharan Africa (not further defined)

91 Central and West Africa

92 Southern and East Africa

More detailed information is available at lower levels of this classification.

Note that the 2013 Census excludes categories 0004–0009 of the Country classification. These are supplementary codes that do not relate to birthplace. The supplementary codes retained by the census are 'At sea' and 'Inadequately described'.

For further information about this classification, refer to the:

For background information on classifications and standards, refer to the Classifications and related statistical standards page.

Subject population

The subject population for this variable is the census night population, as this question applies to all people in New Zealand on census night. However, data on birthplace is only produced as a standard output for the census usually resident population.

The subject population is the people, families, households, or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

Non-response and data that could not be classified


'Non-response' is when an individual gives no response at all to a census question that was relevant to them. The non-response rate is the percentage of the subject population that was coded to ‘Not stated’.

  • Non-response rate for 2013: 5.9 percent for the census usually resident population, of which 4.7 percent were substitute records.
  • Non-response rate for 2006: 4.5 percent for the census usually resident population, of which 3.2 percent were substitute records.
  • Non-response rate for 2001: 3.9 percent for the census usually resident population, of which 2.8 percent were substitute records.

Not elsewhere included

Non-response and responses that could not be classified or did not provide the type of information asked for are usually grouped together and called 'Not elsewhere included'.

  • 6.1 percent of the subject population was coded to 'Not elsewhere included' in 2013, compared with 4.7 percent in 2006 and 4.0 percent in 2001.

For more information on non-response and substitute records, refer to the Census data user guide.

How this data is used

Data from this variable is used to:

  • provide useful indicators of the social and economic status of immigrants
  • provide information about cultural diversity within communities and aid in planning for services by local authorities
  • develop, monitor, and evaluate settlement programmes for immigrants.

Data quality processes

All census data was checked thoroughly during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it met quality standards and is suitable for use. These quality checks included a warning edit to check for multiple response.

All data must meet minimum quality standards to make it suitable for use.

Quality level

A quality level is assigned to all census variables: foremost, defining, or supplementary.

Birthplace is a defining variable. Defining variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation, or monitoring. These variables are given second priority in terms of quality, time, and resources across all phases of a census.

Mode of collection impacts – online form compared with paper form

The online forms had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from online forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done. There will always be a mode effect but this cannot be measured. Statistics NZ design and test to minimise the effects of mode for all questions.

There were differences between how the forms were completed online and on paper for this variable:

  • The online form allowed only one response to be selected for the birthplace question. If a further response was selected, the response given previously disappeared. It was not possible to prevent respondents from selecting more than one response on the paper forms.
  • On the online form, it was only possible to give text responses if 'Other' was marked. When forms were completed on paper, it was possible to give a text response but not mark the 'Other' tick box.

Quality assessment of data and data quality issues for this variable

Overall quality assessment

Moderate: fit for use – with some data quality issues to be aware of, to High: fit for use – with minor data quality issues only. 2013 Census variable quality rating scale gives more detail.

Issues to note

  • Non-response rate for 2013: 5.9 percent for the census usually resident population, of which 4.7 percent were substitute records.
  • In 2013, a decision was made that seasonal workers from Vanuatu (majority), Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, and Tuvalu should not be included in the New Zealand resident population for the following reasons:
    • In 2001, seasonal workers were also defined as visitors.
    • The United Nations recommends that seasonal workers are considered visitors.
    • Seasonal workers are defined as visitors for the Household Labour Force Survey, international permanent long term and migration data, and usual residence population estimates.
    • Under the 'Recognised seasonal employer' (RSE) strategy, people who are in New Zealand under a RSE limited visa must hold a return ticket to their home country to ensure they leave New Zealand no later than the date their visa expires. In addition, RSEs may not apply for a different kind of visa while staying in New Zealand.
  • The conditions to confirm that people are seasonal workers include:
    • birthplace in the list of 'Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, and Tuvalu'
    • years in New Zealand less than one year or not stated
    • years at usual residence less than one year or not stated
    • occupied dwelling type in the list of 'Hotel, motel or guest accommodation, communal staff quarters, boarding houses, and non-private dwellings not further defined'.

Seasonal workers are mainly working-age males and are concentrated in Hawke's Bay, Tasman, Marlborough, and Otago regions.

For more information on non-response and substitute records, refer to the 2013 Census data user guide.

Comparing this data with previous census data

This data is broadly comparable with data from the 2006 and 2001 Censuses. There have been some clear real-world changes and some changes due to questionnaire design and classification changes.

Changes to the questionnaire

There has been a change to the available tick-boxes in the birthplace question. Scotland has been removed and replaced with India.

Changes to the classification

There have been some changes to the classification of country since the 2006 Census, including:

  • The Australian states are no longer separately identified. Australia and its external territories are now in a single minor group. Previously there were two minor groups.
  • Europe has been split into two major groups: North-West Europe, and Southern and Eastern Europe.
  • The NZSCC 1995 minor group United Kingdom and Ireland has been split into two minor groups to allow for separate identification of the United Kingdom (at the minor group level). Ireland is now a single country minor group.
  • The new European countries created from the former Soviet republics Moldova, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine have been included in the major group Southern and Eastern Europe. Russia has been included in Europe, even though much of it is geographically in Asia, because it functions as a European country. European Russia has the majority of the population and has the seat of political and economic power.
  • The major group The Middle East and North Africa has been renamed North Africa and the Middle East after a discussion with the Australian Bureau of Statistics on the order of this major group.
  • The countries of Southeast Asia have been split into two minor groups: Mainland South-East Asia and Maritime South-East Asia as this region is of growing economic interest.
  • The two major groups Northern America and South America, Central America and the Caribbean have been combined to form a single major group, The Americas.
  • Some minor changes to country names have been made to meet current naming conventions.

See the statistical standard for country for more details.

Comparing this data with data from other sources

Census is the only information source that provides comprehensive information for small areas and small populations. However alternative sources of information about this subject are available:

Data from these alternative sources may show differences from census data for several reasons. These could be due to differences in scope, coverage, non-response rates, data being collected at different periods of time, alternative sources being sample surveys and as such subject to sampling errors, or differences in question wordings and method of delivery (self-administered versus interviewer-administered). Data users are advised to familiarise themselves with the strengths and limitations of individual data sources before comparing with census data.

Further information about this data

All percentages in census publications have been calculated using 'Total stated' as the denominator.

When using this data, be aware that the non-response rate was higher than the acceptable level.

Contact our Information Centre for further information about using this variable.

Note: On 21 January 2014 we updated the variable name 'Country of birth' to 'Birthplace', to reflect the name used in 2013 Census products and services.

Page updated 21 January 2014

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+