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Appendix: The criteria for deciding census content

2018 Census: Content determination framework

Empowering decisions by adding value to New Zealand’s most important data

The criteria we use to determine census content are provided below. These criteria have helped guide the preliminary positions expressed in this paper. Formal submissions will be assessed against these criteria.

Regardless of whether census forms are completed online or on paper, it is still important to consider the overall amount of information being collected and overall respondent burden when determining census content. The size of the paper forms and ability to fit the content onto these is an important factor.

Criteria to determine content of the 2018 Census

Does the proposed change add value to New Zealand’s society and economy?

  • Can the data be used by a wide range of decision-makers?
  • Will the data be used to inform decisions of national significance?
  • Will the information support New Zealand’s key uses of data?

Is the census the most appropriate information source?

  • Is there wide geographical relevance across New Zealand?
  • Is there wide relevance across the New Zealand population?
  • Is small area or small population data needed?
  • Does the census provide information quickly and often enough?
  • Does the census provide the kind of information required?
  • Is census the best data source to meet customer needs?
  • Will the census provide data of sufficient accuracy?
  • Will the census provide data of enough depth?

Does the proposed change reflect an enduring information need?

  • Does the proposed change align with the Statistics NZ’s future thinking (eg the census transformation strategy)?

Will the proposed change produce quality information?

  • Are there minimal or no quality problems?
  • Will the proposed change give better quality data?

Is there continuity with previous census data?

  • Is it consistent and comparable with previous census data? 

Is data consistent with other data collections?

  • Is it consistent with other data collections (concepts, definitions, classifications)? 

Is there general acceptance of the proposed change?

  • Are there particular concerns for specific groups?
  • Is it non-intrusive?
  • Is it non-offensive?
  • Are respondents willing and happy to answer?
  • Do respondents feel the proposed change is of value?

Would the proposed questions be easy for respondents to complete?

  • Are they easy to understand and interpret?
  • Are they easy (simple) and quick to answer?
  • Do people know the answer?


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