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Weekly rent paid by households


Weekly rent paid by households is the total amount of money spent weekly by households on obtaining shelter in a private dwelling. This sum normally excludes payments for the use of furniture and utilities (such as electricity, gas, and water) and for the provision of special services such as washing or cooking.

Where the data comes from

This variable is derived from questions 11 (rent indicator) and 12 (rent paid) on the dwelling form.

How this data is classified

This data is classified according to the amount of rent paid, with a separate category for each single dollar amount, but is aggregated into rent band categories in published tables.

Weekly rent paid by household, mixed groups to $350 and over

01 Under $50

02 $50–$79

03 $80–$99

04 $100–$124

05 $125–$149

06 $150–$174

07 $175–$199

08 $200–$249

09 $250–$299

10 $300–$349

11 $350 and over

90 Not elsewhere included

Weekly rent paid by household, mixed groups to $500 and over

Under $50













$500 and over

Weekly rent paid by household, single dollars

0000 No rent paid

0001 $1 weekly rent


9000 $9,000 weekly rent (in $1 increments)

9001 Over $9,000 weekly rent

9777 Response unidentifiable

9999 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 households in rented private occupied dwellings ie households that do not own their home or have it in a family trust and are paying rent.

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

Data for weekly rent paid

  • To obtain the correct data for weekly rent paid, it is necessary to select only those households that were renting, which means those households that were in the tenure of household category called 'Dwelling not owned and not held in a family trust, rent payments made'. Otherwise the data that is produced will include other households that were not renting their home, and will be incorrect.

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: 3.6.percent.
  • Non-response rate for 2006: 2.7 percent.
  • Non-response rate for 2001: 4.3 percent.

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'.

  • 3.7 percent of the subject population was coded to 'Not elsewhere included' in 2013, compared with 2.8 percent in 2006 and 5.0 percent in 2001.

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

How this data is used

Data from this variable is used:

  • to provide information on housing affordability
  • to produce data on median rents at a regional level
  • to formulate and monitor housing policy
  • in conjunction with household income data to estimate the residual income available for expenditure by the household.

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.

Weekly rent paid by household 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. There will always a mode effect but this cannot be measured. Statistics NZ designs and tests to minimise the effects of mode for all questions. The significance of the mode effect 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 form, if the respondent answered 'Yes' to 'Is this dwelling held in a family trust?' or 'Yes' to owning/partly owning the dwelling, the rent indicator and weekly rent paid questions were greyed out. On the paper form, it is possible for the respondent to fill in the rent related questions after ticking yes to the 'Held in a family trust' or 'Ownership of dwelling' questions.
  • The online form allowed only one response to be selected for the rent indicator and rent period questions. If a further response was selected, the response given previously disappeared. Multiple responses to these questions were possible when forms were completed on paper.
  • On the online form, it was only possible to give a rent amount and rent period if the answer to the rent indicator question was ‘Yes’, and only numeric responses were permitted in the space provided for the rent amount. When forms were completed on paper, it was possible to give a rent amount and rent period without having answered the rent indicator question, and to give a non-numeric response to rent amount.

Quality assessment of data and data quality issues for this variable

Overall quality assessment

Moderate: fit for use – with some minor 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: 3.6.percent.
  • The undercount of households renting from Housing New Zealand Corporation (estimated at approximately 18 percent) will have affected counts in the lower rent bands.

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

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.

Over this time period there have been changes to the question wording, number of response boxes provided, and format of the response boxes (addition of pre-printed zeros, a decimal point and a comma). These changes may have affected the way in which respondents answered these questions.

Changes in the level of undercount of households renting from Household New Zealand Corporation may have also affected comparability over time for the lower rent bands. In 2013 the undercount was estimated to be approximately 18 percent compared with an estimated 25 percent in 2006, and approximately 15 percent in 2001. It is not possible to give exact figures, as some tenants could have been absent on census night.

Comparing this data with data from other sources

Census provides comprehensive data for small areas and small population, however, alternative sources of information about rents and/or housing affordability are available from:

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 of the following: 

  • Summary figures for rent (eg medians, means) that appear in census publications have been rounded to the nearest $10.
  • The longer than usual gap between censuses may have contributed to differences in the amount of increase in rent seen between 2006 and 2013, compared with that seen between 2001 and 2006.

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

Updated 18 October 2017

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