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Usual residence

Definition

Usual residence is the address of the dwelling where a person considers themselves to usually reside.

It is recommended that these guidelines be followed in cases where usual residence is not self-defined.

  • Dependent children, who board elsewhere to attend primary or secondary school, and return to the home of their parent(s) or guardian(s) for the holidays, usually reside at the address of their parent(s) or guardian(s).
  • Tertiary students usually reside at the address where they live while studying. If they give up their usual residence in the holidays (eg terminate the lease on a flat or give up their hostel room) and return to the home of their parent(s)/guardian(s) during the holidays, their usual residence over that period would be the home of their parent(s)/guardian(s).
  • Children in shared care usually reside at the place where they spend more nights, or if they spend equal amounts of time at each residence, they usually reside at the place where they were on census night.
  • People who are in rest homes, hospitals, prisons, or other institutions usually reside where they consider themselves to live; this may include the institution.
  • A person whose home is on any boat, ship, or vessel permanently located in any harbour shall be deemed to usually reside at the wharf or landing place (or main wharf or landing place) of the harbour.
  • A person from another country who has lived the 12 months before 5 March 2013 in New Zealand, or has the intention of living in New Zealand for 12 months or more, usually resides at his or her address in New Zealand (as in external migration).
  • People who spend equal amounts of time residing at different addresses, and cannot decide which address is their usual residence, usually reside at the address they were at on census night.
  • If none of the above guidelines apply, the person usually resides at the address where they were on census night.

Usual residence is self-defined. However, due to the 2011 earthquakes, a separate form was handed out to Canterbury residents to assist with filling in the 2013 census:

“How should I answer if my address has been affected by the Canterbury earthquakes?

“Give the address you are currently living at, unless you are temporarily living somewhere and will be moving back to your earthquake-affected address (once your home has been repaired or rebuilt, for example). In that case, give that address you will be moving back to.”

Related variables

  • Usual residence indicator – describes the relationship between a person’s usual residence and their census night address.
  • Usual residence urban and rural area indicator – indicates whether a person's usual residence is in an urban or rural area.
  • Usual residence five years ago – a person's usual residence five years ago.
  • Usual residence five years ago indicator – a person’s usual residence five years ago in relation to their usual residence on census night.
  • Usual residence five years ago summary – provides high-level geographic information about whether people have moved in the last five years, such as the count of people that now live in a different usual residence but are still in the same regional council area that they lived in five years ago. The summary variable is derived by combining the usual residence five years ago indicator, usual residence five years ago and usual residence variables.

For more information on these variables refer to the 2013 Census data dictionary.

Where the data comes from

Question 5 on the individual form.

How this data is classified

The usual residence classification consists of a combination of classifications that are ordinarily stored independently of each other. They are the 'Meshblock', 'Area unit', 'Territorial authority', 'Regional council', and 'Country' classifications. There is a hierarchic relationship between the New Zealand geographic classifications of meshblock, area unit, territorial authority and regional council. For example, meshblocks aggregate to form area units, and area units aggregate to form both territorial authorities and regional councils.

Usual residence is a seven-digit code classification.

Meshblock codes (7 digits)

Area unit codes (6 digits) prefixed by '9'

Territorial authority codes (3 digits) prefixed by '9999'

Regional council codes (2 digits) prefixed by '99999'

Country codes (4 digits) prefixed by '999'

9999997 Country not stated

As usual residence is imputed if the question was not answered or could not be coded to meshblock, usual residence address is available for the whole census usually resident population at meshblock level. For the non- census usually resident population, their usual residence address is coded as their home country.

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 census night population count and census usually resident population count.

Census night population count applies to all people in New Zealand on census night. However, data on usual residence is output for the census usually resident population count.

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

Non-response and data that could not be classified

This variable does not have a non-response category.

If a respondent did not answer question 5 on the individual form, or if the response could not be coded to meshblock level, a value is assigned by determining what response would have been expected by looking at responses to other questions. This is called imputation.

Imputation

Imputation is only done for respondents who were New Zealand residents. Imputation is necessary if usual residence on census night is missing, so that everyone is assigned to a specific meshblock. This allows electoral populations to be calculated on the basis of usual residence.

There are two types of imputation: imputation of records to create a substitute individual or dwelling records, and imputation of variables where respondents have not answered a question. Substitute dwelling records are created where there is sufficient evidence that an occupied dwelling exists but we have no corresponding dwelling form. Similarly, substitute individual records are created where there is sufficient evidence that a person exists but we have no corresponding individual form.

Imputation and substitution rates

  • Imputation rate for non-substitute individual records 2013: 0.2 percent of the usually resident population1
  • Substitution rate for 2013: 4.8 percent of the usually resident population2
  • Imputation rate for non-substitute individual records 2006: 0.4 percent of the usually resident population1
  • Substitution rate for 2006: 3.3 percent of the usually resident population2
  • Imputation rate for non-substitute individual records 2001: 0.7 percent of the usually resident population1
  • Substitution rate for 2001: 2.4 percent of the usually resident population2

1. This is the percent that did not answer the 'usual residence' question, of those who completed a census form.
2. This is the percent that did not answer the 'usual residence' question, of the census usually resident population count (which includes substitute individual records).

For more information on imputation and substitute records, refer to the 2013 Census data user guide and Imputation and balancing methodologies for the 2006 Census.

How this data is used

Data from this variable is used:

  • to formulate, monitor, and evaluate central and local government policy
  • as an input to population estimates and projections, providing information on how communities are changing
  • as the basis for identifying the location of the usually resident population and the foundation for data about neighbourhoods, communities, and regions
  • in conjunction with usual residence five years ago to produce data on mobility and internal migration
  • in determining electoral boundaries as required under the Electoral Act
  • by businesses to determine target markets.

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.

Usual residence is a foremost variable. Foremost variables are core census variables that have the highest 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:

  • On the online forms, the usual residence question had two parts. For the first part of the question, the online form allowed only one response indicating that the respondent usually lived 'In New Zealand' or 'Not in New Zealand'. If the respondent answered 'Not in New Zealand', the routing for overseas visitors was activated and the questions that did not apply to overseas visitors either disappeared or were greyed out, so the respondent could not answer them unless they changed their response to the usual residence question. The second part of the usual residence question on the online form was a text box for respondents to key in their address. The paper form consisted of just one question on usual residence that asked for the respondent's address.
  • On the online form, the usual residence question had to be completed in order for the respondent to submit the form. Non-response to this question was possible when forms were filled in on paper.

Quality assessment of data and data quality issues for this variable

Overall quality assessment

High: fit for use – with minor data quality issues only. 2013 Census variable quality rating scale gives more detail.

Issues to note

  • Imputation rate for non-substitute individual records 2013: 0.2 percent of the usually resident population1
  • Substitution rate for 2013: 4.8 percent of the usually resident population2

1. This is the percent that did not answer the 'usual residence' question, of those who completed a census form.
2. This is the percent that did not answer the 'usual residence' question, of the census usually resident population count (which includes substitute individual records).

For more information on imputation and substitute records, refer to the 2013 Census data user guide and Imputation and balancing methodologies for the 2006 Census.

Comparing this data with previous census data

This data is highly comparable with data from the 2006 and 2001 Censuses. Changes in the data over this time period can generally be interpreted as real changes. There may be a small component of change over time that is due to minor changes in the collection, definition, or classification of the data.

There is a drop in the number of respondents with no fixed abode in 2013 compared with 2006. This is due to the fact that overseas residents of no fixed abode are now coded correctly, compared with 2006.

In 2006 the guide notes instructed tertiary students to put their term-time address as their usual address. In 2001 a significant number of tertiary students reported a usual address that differed from their census night address. This affected the counts of usual residents for some geographic areas in 2001.

An instruction was added to the question in 2006 directing students and overseas residents to the help notes for more information on how to answer.

In 2013, change to the guide notes for children in shared custody was made to reflect the updated standard.

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.

Census data is used as the baseline for population estimates so the accuracy of the estimates tends to deteriorate with time elapsed after the census date.

Further information about this data

When using this data, be aware of the following:

  • Some Canterbury residents may have had trouble correctly identifying their usual residence due to earthquake repairs to their houses.
  • Overseas residents, originally coded as New Zealand residents, have been identified and recoded as overseas residents. This was also a problem in 2006.

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

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