Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Extended family type


An 'extended family' is a group of related persons who usually reside together and consists of:

  • a family nucleus and one or more 'other related persons', or
  • two or more related family nuclei, with or without related persons.

People who usually live in a particular dwelling, and are members of an extended family in that dwelling, but who are absent on census night, are included, as long as they are reported as being absent by the reference person on the dwelling form.

Extended families are classified according to the generational span of the extended family.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

The key questions from which data on extended family type (and related variables) is derived are questions 6 and 21 on the dwelling form (PDF 783kb) and question 19 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 extended families in private occupied dwellings.

Non-response rate

In 2006, 0.04 percent were 'not classifiable'.

In 2001, 0.3 percent were 'not classifiable'.

Extended family type has a minimal 'not classifiable' rate, as this only occurs when an extended family has been identified but it is not possible to determine the generational span. In general, if enough information has been provided to determine that an extended family is present, the generational span can also be determined.

There may be cases where there was not sufficient information to identify that an extended family was present. In this instance, the extended family will not have been included in this data.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Extended family type 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

Data on extended family type is available from the 1996 and 2001 Censuses.

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

  • The classification used in 1996 provided more detail than that used in 2001 and 2006. As well as indicating the generational span, the 1996 classification had sub-categories that showed the composition of the extended family, such as whether it included siblings, couples, a sole parent, children, or grandparents. The classifications used in 2001 and 2006 indicate the generational span only. The 2001 and 2006 data can be compared with the less detailed level of the 1996 data (ie the generational span categories).

Significant issues

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

Other things to be aware of

  • During census processing, the people in each private dwelling (including absentees) have codes allocated to them that indicate who they live with and their roles within families (eg partner, parent, child). The extended family type derivation uses the family coding to identify the generational span of related people within households and to determine the extended family type of each extended family.
  • Households consisting only of grandparents and grandchildren (who have been classified as children in a family nucleus with their grandparents in a parental role) are not included in the extended families data. This is because they form just one family nucleus and there are no 'other related people'. Information on families is available in the Family type variable.
  • 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:
    • On the Internet, only one response could be selected for each person's relationship to the reference person in questions 6 and 21 on the dwelling form. Multiple responses for a person's relationship to the reference person were possible when forms were completed on paper.
    • For the living arrangements question, the Internet form did not allow inconsistent multiple responses of 'I live alone' to be selected at the same time as one or more responses indicating people with whom the respondent lived. If the 'I live alone' box was marked, any other response options to the living arrangements question disappeared. Inconsistent multiple responses to this question were possible when forms were completed on paper.
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+