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Purpose and summary

Purpose of this preliminary view

This document provides Statistics NZ’s initial view on the content we’ll be including in the New Zealand 2018 Census of Population and Dwellings. It’s the starting point for public engagement and consultation on the content of the 2018 Census.

The views expressed in this document are preliminary.

This document has two purposes:

  1. To give our customers an idea of the information that may be collected in the 2018 Census, so you can see the direction, scope, and constraints on content from the start of the consultation process.
  2. To promote discussion and invite submissions on what information we’ll be collecting in the 2018 Census.

Public consultation is an important step in developing the census. It shapes the content we will develop and test for inclusion in the 2018 Census. The census content will only be finalised after research, consultation, and testing.

We invite your input into the 2018 Census content. You can do this in two ways: by taking part in the online discussion, and/or by making a formal submission.

  • Online engagement: You can discuss the proposals in this paper using our online engagement tool. This tool makes public discussion and views transparent. The discussion will run from 30 April 2015 until 10 June 2015. 
    Join the 2018 Census content discussion
  • Formal submissions: For your views to be assessed, we need to receive your formal response to this consultation paper between 18 May 2015 and 30 June 2015 through our formal submissions process.
    Submissions should address the criteria described in the appendix of this document. 
    Make a formal submission

Summary of census content and our recommendations

As part of the content review for 2018 Census, we’ve made initial recommendations about each possible topic, and put each into one of four categories:

  • existing content to remain the same
  • recommended new content or improvements to existing content
  • more information required to recommend inclusion
  • content not recommended for inclusion.

The topics included in the 2018 Census must reflect legal requirements, current information needs, and our aims for the census.

Under the Statistics Act 1975, certain information has to be collected in the census.

The census also needs to reflect real-world change and maintain relevance. We review the content before each census to make sure it meets current information needs.

Table 1 identifies the broad topics, and specific variables within those topics, we have so far considered for inclusion in 2018. It summarises our current recommendations on whether they are proposed to be included.

We expect existing content to remain unchanged if it is meeting information needs well.

Remember that the recommendations in this document are preliminary. We want to hear what you think before making a final decision on 2018 Census content.

Aims of 2018 Census

The aim of the 2018 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings is to produce the best possible count of the population and dwellings and provide that count, along with other related statistical information, to customers.

We also aim to modernise our processes – see A new approach to running the 2018 Census. The modernisation planned for 2018 is a step towards a new census model.

The package of topics we recommend for inclusion in the 2018 Census reflects these aims, and ensures topics are relevant to current information needs. 

Table 1: Summary of preliminary content recommendations for the 2018 Census

Topic  Existing content to remain the same  Recommended new content or improvements to existing content  More information required to recommend inclusion  Content not recommended for inclusion 
Population structure 
  • Age(1)
  • Name(1)
  • Number of occupants on census night(1)
  • Absentees  
  • Sex(1)
  • Partnership status in current relationship  
  • Legally registered relationship status
  • Number of children born alive  
  • Address on census night(1)
  • Address of dwelling(1)
  • Usual residence
  • Usual residence five years ago 
  • Usual residence one year ago(2)
  • Years at usual residence 
Second address/residence (new topic)   
  • Second address/residence(2)
Ethnicity, culture, and identity 
  • Ethnicity(1)
  • Māori descent
  • Birthplace
  • Language spoken
  • Years since arrival in New Zealand
  • Religious affiliation  
  • Iwi affiliation 
  • Generational attachment(2)
  • Citizenship(2)
  • Sexual orientation(2)
  • Gender identity(2)  
Education and training 
  • Highest secondary school qualification 
  • Post-school qualification
  • Study participation  
  • Hours worked per week
  • Industry
  • Work and labour force status
  • Occupation
  • Sector of ownership
  • Status in employment
  • Workplace address 
  • Veteran population(2)
  • Unpaid activities 
  • Total personal income
  • Sources of personal income  
Families and households  The existing range of derived family and household information, eg:
 - Family type
 - Household composition
 - Extended families
 - Child dependency status
 - Dependent young person indicator
 - Grandparents in a parental role 
  • Stepfamilies(2) 
  • Dwelling counts (occupied, unoccupied, under construction)
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of rooms(1)
  • Weekly rent paid by households 
  • Occupied dwelling type
  • Tenure of household(1)
  • Tenure holder
  • Sector of landlord 
  • Types of unoccupied dwellings (empty, residents away)
  • Housing quality(2)
  • Mortgage payment amount(2)
  • Fuel types used to heat dwelling 
  • Number of motor vehicles
  • Main means of travel to work
  • Main means of travel to education(2)
  • Educational institution address(2)
  • Access to telecommunication systems 
  • Disability 
  • Cigarette smoking behaviour 

1. Content that is required to be collected under the Statistics Act 1975.
2. Content that was not collected in the 2013 Census.

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