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'Birthplace' refers to the country where the respondent was born. A country is the current name, either short or official, of a country, dependency or other area of particular geopolitical interest. The term country is defined to include:

  • independent countries recognised by the New Zealand Government
  • units that are recognised geographic areas
  • administrative subdivisions of the United Kingdom, and
  • overseas dependencies and external territories of independent countries.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

Data on birthplace comes from question 9 on the individual form (PDF 395kb).

Subject population

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

The subject population for this variable is the census night population, as this question applies to all people in New Zealand on census night. However, data on birthplace is only produced as a standard output for the census usually resident population.

Non-response rate

The 2006 non-response rate was 4.5 percent for the census usually resident population.

The 2001 non-response rate was 3.9 percent for the census usually resident population.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Birthplace is a defining variable.

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Defining variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation or monitoring. These variables are given secondary priority in terms of quality, time and resources across all phases of the 2006 Census.

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

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

There are issues affecting the comparability of this data with the 1996 and 2001 Census data:

  • The list of countries provided as tick box options changed between 2001 and 2006. 'The Netherlands' and 'Fiji' options were removed and 'China (People's Republic of)' and 'South Africa' were added.
  • Serbia and Montenegro were part of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and existed as a state union between 2003 and 2006. Therefore, there is no count for the birthplace 'Serbia and Montenegro' in 2001. People who wrote Yugoslavia for their country of birth in 2006 were coded to 'South Eastern Europe not further defined'. This caused a substantial increase in this category from 12 in 2001, to 1,149 in 2006.
  • East Timor was classified as 'other South East Asian' in the 2001 Census. In 1996 East Timor was a separate category.

Significant issues

There are no significant issues that users should be aware of.

Other things to be aware of

  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form 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 Internet 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 were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • The Internet form allowed only one response to be selected for the birthplace question. If a further response was selected, the response given previously disappeared. Multiple responses to this question were possible when forms were completed on paper.
    • On the Internet, it was only possible to give text responses if 'other' was marked. When forms were completed on paper, it was possible to give a text response but not mark the 'other' tick box.
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