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Unpaid activities

Definition

Unpaid activities covers activities performed in the four weeks before the census date, without payment, for people living either in the same household, or outside.

Related variables

  • Number of unpaid activities

Where the data comes from

Question 46 on the individual form.

How this data is classified

00 No activities

01 Household work, cooking, repairs, gardening etc, for own household

02 Looking after a child who is a member of own household

03 Looking after a member of own household who is ill or has a disability

04 Looking after a child who does not live in own household

05 Helping someone who is ill or has a disability who does not live in own household

06 Other helping or voluntary work for or through any organisation, group or marae

77 Response unidentifiable

99 Not stated

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 usually resident population aged 15 years and over.

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

'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: 9.5 percent, of which 4.9 percent were substitute records.
  • Non-response rate for 2006: 8.7 percent, of which 3.4 percent were substitute records.
  • Non-response rate for 2001: 8.7 percent, of which 3.1 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'.

  • 10.5 percent of the subject population was coded to 'Not elsewhere included' in 2013, compared with 10.0 percent in 2006. In 2001 only the non-response category was used.

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

How this data is used

Data from this variable is used:

  • by central government, territorial authorities, and the non-profit sector to understand the level of unpaid work carried out in New Zealand households, particularly by women
  • to understand the demographics of those who perform unpaid activities
  • to estimate the extent to which unpaid work underpins total economic activity
  • in the development of social indicators such as social capital
  • by Statistics NZ to ensure comparability with the New Zealand General Social Survey.

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 edits.

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

Quality level

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

Unpaid activities is a supplementary variable. Supplementary variables do not fit in directly with the main purpose of a census, but are still important to certain groups. These variables are given third priority in terms of effort and resources.

Mode of collection impacts – online forms compared with paper forms

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 did not allow the inconsistent multiple response of 'None of these' to be selected along with one or more unpaid activities. If the 'None of these' box was marked, any other response(s) to unpaid activities disappeared. Inconsistent multiple responses to this question were possible when forms were completed on paper.
  • On the online form, only people who gave a New Zealand address in question 5 and were 15 years of age or older were able to respond to the unpaid activities question (question 46). On the paper form it was possible for overseas visitors or people younger than 15 years of age to respond to question 46.

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. 2013 Census variable quality rating scale gives more detail.

Issues to note

  • Non-response rate for 2013: 9.5 percent, of which 4.9 percent were substitute records.
  • The main issue is the high non-response rate. This may impact on the use of data, particularly at the regional and lower geographic levels. However, trends according to sex, work and labour force status, and ethnicity are comparable with 2006.

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 fully comparable with the 2006 Census data. Changes in the data over this time period can be interpreted as real changes because there have been no changes in the way the data has been collected, defined, and classified.

This data is broadly comparable with the 2001 Census data. Changes in the data over this time period may be partly due to changes in the collection, definition, or classification of the data rather than to real change.

Changes in data from the 2006 and 2013 Censuses when compared with 2001 may be partly due to changes to the questionnaire. In 2013 and 2006, the question on study participation was separated to form a separate question, whereas in 2001 this was asked as part of the unpaid activities question. As a result of this, while the counts for individual unpaid activities should not be affected, the data for the 'Number of unpaid activities' variable and the 'No unpaid activities' category is not comparable with the corresponding 2001 data. Care should be taken when comparing 2013, 2006 and 2001 data because of this. Extensive time-series analysis is not recommended for this variable.

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 people stated' as the denominator.

When using this data, be aware of the following:

  • This is a total response variable, meaning respondents can supply more than one response (unpaid activity). In 2013, the subject population (census usually resident population aged 15 years and over) was 3,376,419, and 5,285,985 responses (unpaid activities) were collected.

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

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