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Glossary

Age-specific

A measure relating to an age group. Age-specific rates are commonly calculated for fertility, mortality, marriage, marriage dissolution, and abortion.

Age-specific fertility rates are usually expressed in terms of the experience of women within each five-year age group (15–19, 20–24, 25–29 years, etc), or they can also be expressed in terms of single year of age rates.

Area unit

Area units are aggregations of meshblocks. They are non-administrative areas intermediate between meshblocks and territorial authorities. Area units must either define or aggregate to define regional councils, territorial authorities, and urban areas. Each area unit must be a single geographic entity with a unique name. Area units of main or secondary urban areas generally coincide with suburbs or parts thereof. Area units within urban areas normally contain 3,000–5,000 population. In rural areas, the straddling of some territorial authorities over regional boundaries has resulted in a number of area units having only two or three meshblocks and a very low population count.

Asian ethnic group

People who identify with an Asian ethnicity (for example, Chinese, Indian, Korean) with or without other ethnicities.

Because ethnicity is self-perceived, people can identify with an Asian ethnicity even though they are not descended from Asian ancestors. Conversely, people may choose to not identify with an Asian ethnicity even though they are descended from Asian ancestors. Ethnicity is not the same as birthplace.

Base population

The starting population, usually distributed by age and sex, from which population estimates and projections are derived.

Census night population count

A count of all people present in a given area on a given census night. The census night population count of New Zealand includes visitors from overseas who are counted on census night, but excludes residents who are temporarily overseas on census night.

For a subnational area, the count includes visitors from overseas and elsewhere in New Zealand (people who do not usually live in that area), but excludes residents of that area who are temporarily elsewhere on census night (people who usually live in that area but are absent).

Census usually resident population count

A count of all people who usually live in a given area, and are present in New Zealand, on a given census night. The census usually resident population count of New Zealand excludes visitors from overseas and excludes residents who are temporarily overseas on census night.

For a subnational area, this count excludes visitors from overseas and elsewhere in New Zealand (people who do not usually live in that area), but includes residents of that area who are temporarily elsewhere in New Zealand on census night (people who usually live in that area but are absent).

City

 A territorial authority that is a distinct entity, is predominately urban in character, has a minimum population of 50,000, and is a major centre of activity within its parent region. Some territorial authorities are classified as cities for historical reasons. For example, Nelson is a city because of its cathedral.

Civil union

The act, ceremony, or process by which the legal relationship of two people is constituted. A civil union may be entered into by couples of the same sex or by couples of different sexes. In New Zealand, a civil union may be solemnised either by a civil union celebrant or before a registrar of civil unions. A licence must be obtained from a registrar before a civil union can be solemnised, and notice must be given by one of the parties to a registrar.

Cohort

A group of people sharing a common demographic experience. For example, the 1900 birth cohort refers to the people who were born in the year 1900. Cohort life tables are based on the actual mortality experience of a particular group of people born in the same year.

Cohort life table

A tabular numerical representation of mortality and survivorship of a cohort of births at each age of life. It comprises an array of measures, including probabilities of death, probabilities of survival, and life expectancies at various ages. It is based on the actual mortality experience of a particular cohort (for example, all people born in the year 1900). These tables require data over many years, from infancy to the oldest age lived by the cohort (that is, until the death of the last survivor).

Confinement

A pregnancy resulting in either live or stillborn children. Such an event is counted as one confinement irrespective of whether a single or multiple birth results.

Crude birth rate

The number of live births per 1,000 mean population.

Crude death rate

The number of deaths per 1,000 mean population.

Crude marriage rate

The number of marriages per 1,000 mean population.

Cumulative fertility rate

The average number of live births that a woman born in a particular year has had by the time she reaches a particular age.

Death

The permanent disappearance of all evidence of life at any time after live birth has taken place (post-natal cessation of vital functions without capability of resuscitation). This definition therefore excludes foetal deaths.

De facto population concept

A statistical basis for a population in terms of those present in a given area at a given time. The census night population count is a census measure, and the estimated de facto population is a demographic measure, of the de facto population concept.

In terms of vitals data (births, deaths, marriages, etc), the de facto population concept refers to events registered in New Zealand to New Zealand residents and visitors from overseas.

De facto union (consensual union)

 Two people usually living in the same dwelling, but not in a registered marriage or civil union with each other, who:

  • share mutual concern for each other
  • have a degree of economic, social, and emotional interdependence
  • consider their relationship to be akin to marriage.

Demographic projection

Indication of the future demographic characteristics of a population, families, households, or labour force based on an assessment of past trends and assumptions about the future course of demographic behaviour (for example, fertility, mortality, migration, living arrangement type, labour force participation).

District

A territorial authority that is neither wholly urban nor wholly rural and that is under the jurisdiction of a district council.

Divorce

The process by which the legal relationship of husband and wife is dissolved. An application for marriage dissolution can be made by either the husband or wife on the grounds that the marriage has broken down irreconcilably, provided a two-year separation requirement is satisfied. Orders for dissolution of marriage cannot be granted if both marriage partners live outside New Zealand. Dissolution orders are granted by the Family Court.

Divorce rate

The number of divorces per 1,000 estimated existing marriages.

Estimated de facto population

An estimate of all people present in a given area at a given date. The estimated de facto population of New Zealand includes all people present in New Zealand and counted by the census (census night population count). This estimate includes visitors from overseas who are counted on census night, but excludes New Zealand residents who are temporarily overseas.

For a subnational area the estimate includes visitors from overseas and elsewhere in New Zealand (people who do not usually live in that area), but excludes residents of that area who are temporarily elsewhere on census night (people who usually live in that area but are absent).

The estimated de facto population at a given date after census includes births, deaths, and net migration (arrivals less departures) of people during the period between census night and the given date.

De facto population estimates are no longer produced. National population estimates were produced annually (reference date at 31 December) from 1936 to 1950 and quarterly (reference dates at 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December) from March 1951 to June 1997. Subnational population estimates were produced annually (reference date at 31 March) to 1995.

Estimated resident population

An estimate of all people who usually live in a given area at a given date. The estimated resident population of New Zealand includes all residents present in New Zealand and counted by the census (census usually resident population count), residents who are temporarily overseas (who are not included in the census), and an adjustment for residents missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount). Visitors from overseas are excluded.

For a subnational area, the estimate excludes visitors from elsewhere in New Zealand (people who do not usually live in that area), but includes residents of that area who are temporarily elsewhere on census night (people who usually live in that area but are absent).

The estimated resident population at a given date after census includes births, deaths, and net migration (arrivals less departures) of residents during the period between census night and the given date.

National population estimates are produced quarterly (reference dates at 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December) from 1991 and subnational population estimates are produced annually (reference date at 30 June) from 1996.

Ethnicity

An ethnic group is made up of people who have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • a common proper name
  • one or more elements of common culture that need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language
  • a unique community of interests, feelings, and actions
  • a shared sense of common origins, or ancestry
  • a common geographic origin.

This definition is based on the work of A Smith (1986) The Ethnic Origins of Nations.

Ethnicity is self-perceived and people can belong to more than one ethnic group. People may choose to identify with an ethnicity even though they may not be descended from ancestors with that ethnicity. Conversely, people may choose not to identify with an ethnicity even though they are descended from ancestors with that ethnicity.

In the Census of Population and Dwellings, ethnicity is identified by the person completing the census form. In the case of births and deaths, ethnicity is identified by the person completing the registration form. For births this is usually the parents, while for deaths this is most likely to be the funeral director (on the advice of a family member).

European ethnic group

People who identify with a European ethnicity (for example, New Zealand European, English, Dutch) with or without other ethnicities.

Because ethnicity is self-perceived, people may choose to identify with a European ethnicity even though they are not descended from European ancestors. Conversely, people may choose not to identify with a European ethnicity even though they are descended from European ancestors. Ethnicity is not the same as birthplace.

Ex-nuptial birth

A child born to parents who are not legally married or in a civil union at the time of the birth. Ex-nuptial births include births to parents in a de facto union. Nuptiality is determined by the date of marriage or civil union on the birth registration form. If no date of marriage or civil union is given, the birth is assumed to be ex-nuptial.

General marriage rate

The number of marriages per 1,000 estimated mean not-married population aged 16 years and over.

Gross reproduction rate

The average number of daughters that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific fertility rates of that year. It excludes the effect of mortality.

Infant death

The death of a child (who was born alive) before the age of one year. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

Labour force

The population aged 15 years and over who regularly work for one or more hours per week for financial gain, or work without pay in a family business, or are unemployed and actively seeking part-time or full-time work.

Late registration

A birth registered more than two years after it occurred. Section 16 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 states that no birth can be registered after two years without the approval of the Registrar-General.

Birth statistics and derived birth rates released by Statistics NZ generally exclude late registrations.

Life expectancy

The average length of life remaining at a given age. As derived from a period life table, it assumes that a person experiences the age-specific mortality rates of a given period from the given age onwards. It represents the average longevity of the whole population and does not necessarily reflect the longevity of an individual.

Live birth

The birth of a child who breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached. All liveborn infants should be registered and counted as such, irrespective of length of gestation or whether alive or dead at the time of registration. If the child dies at any time following birth, their death should also be registered and counted as a death.

Māori descent

People have Māori descent if they consider they have Māori ancestors, no matter how distant.

Māori ethnic group

People who identify with the Māori ethnicity with or without other ethnicities.

Because ethnicity is self-perceived, people may choose to identify with Māori ethnicity even though they may not be descended from Māori ancestors. Conversely, people may choose not to identify with Māori ethnicity even though they are descended from Māori ancestors.

An ethnic question (based on self-identification) was not asked on birth and death registration forms until 1 September 1995. Consequently, Māori births and deaths before this date relate to the old ‘half or more Māori origin’ definition. All tables carrying the old definition of Māori are clearly labelled and end in 1995.

Marital status

A person’s status with respect to the marriage laws or customs of the country. Legal marital status is a person’s status with respect to registered marriage or civil union. Social marital status is a person’s status with respect to consensual union (partnered or unpartnered).

Marriage (registered)

The act, ceremony, or process by which the legal relationship of husband and wife is constituted. In New Zealand, marriage may be solemnised either by a celebrant or before a registrar of marriages. A licence must be obtained from a registrar before a marriage by a celebrant can be solemnised, and notice must be given by one of the parties to a registrar.

Mean population

The average number of people in an area during a given period, usually one year. This measure may be estimated in terms of a simple or weighted arithmetic mean of monthly or quarterly population during the reference period. If the mean population is unavailable, the population at the midpoint of the period is generally suitable for most purposes.

Median age

Half the population is younger, and half older, than this age.

Meshblock

The smallest geographic unit for which statistical data is collected and processed by Statistics NZ. A meshblock is a defined geographic area, varying in size from part of a city block to large areas of rural land. Each meshblock abuts against another to form a network covering all of New Zealand including coasts and inlets, and extending out to the two hundred mile economic zone. Meshblocks are added together to ‘build up’ larger geographic areas such as area units and urban areas. They are also the principal unit used to draw-up and define electoral district and local authority boundaries.

Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African (MELAA) ethnic grouping

 People who identify with Middle Eastern, Latin American, or African ethnicities with or without other ethnicities. Before 2006, these ethnicities were coded to the ‘Other’ ethnic group.

Migration

The movement of people from one area to another. When the movement is between countries it is called international or external migration; when it is within a country it is called internal migration.

The international travel and migration statistics included in this publication were compiled from arrival and departure cards filled in by passengers. Passenger type (overseas visitor, New Zealand-resident traveller, or permanent and long-term migrant) is based on: time spent in and out of New Zealand, past arrivals and departures of a person, and responses to questions on the arrival or departure card.

Natural increase

The excess of live births over deaths. When deaths exceed births, this is described as a natural decrease or a negative natural increase.

Net census undercount

The difference between undercount and overcount. It is usually expressed as a percentage of what should have been the complete count rather than as a percentage of what was counted.

Net migration

The difference between arrivals and departures.

Net reproduction rate (NRR)

The average number of daughters that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific fertility and mortality rates of that year. An NRR of one means that a woman would exactly replace herself.

New Zealand

This refers to geographic New Zealand, that is, the North Island, South Island, and adjacent islands. People on board ships in New Zealand ports or territorial waters are included in regional council area, North and South Island, and New Zealand populations, but not in those of smaller administrative or statistical units.

Not-married estimated population

Includes all people aged 16 years and over who have never been married or are widowed or divorced. The mean not-married population is estimated using the proportion of not-married people, derived from census counts, and the annual mean estimated population.

Nuptial birth

A child born to parents who are legally married or in a civil union at the time of birth. Nuptiality is determined by the date of marriage or civil union on the birth registration form. If no date of marriage or civil union is given, the birth is assumed to be ex-nuptial.

Pacific peoples ethnic group

People who identify with a Pacific ethnicity (for example, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian) with or without other ethnicities.

Because ethnicity is self-perceived, people may choose to identify with a Pacific ethnicity even though they are not descended from Pacific ancestors. Conversely, people may choose not to identify with a Pacific ethnicity even though they are descended from Pacific ancestors. Ethnicity is not the same as birthplace.

Parity

The number of children liveborn to a mother before the current confinement.

Period life table

A tabular numerical representation of mortality and survival of a cohort of births at each age of life. It comprises an array of measures, including probabilities of death, probabilities of survival, and life expectancies at various ages. It is based on current mortality rates.

These tables assume that as a cohort passes through life it experiences a given pattern of age-specific mortality rates which do not change from year to year. Although it is usually based on death rates from a real population during a particular period of time, these tables are a hypothetical model of mortality as they do not describe the real mortality which characterises a cohort as it ages.

A complete life table presents life table functions for each single year of age, while an abridged life table presents life table functions for age groups.

Permanent and long-term arrival

An overseas migrant who arrives in New Zealand intending to stay for a period of 12 months or more (or permanently), or a New Zealand resident returning after an absence of 12 months or more.

Permanent and long-term departure

A New Zealand resident departing for an intended period of 12 months or more (or permanently), or an overseas visitor departing New Zealand after a stay of 12 months or more.

Population estimate

Population estimates are produced using data from the most recent Census of Population and Dwellings, updated for estimates of the components of demographic change (births, deaths, and net migration) since that last census.

Post-enumeration survey

 A sample survey to check the accuracy of coverage and/or response of another census or survey.

Projection assumption

Statement about a future course of behaviour (for example, fertility, mortality, net migration, living arrangement type, labour force participation) from which demographic projections (for example, of population, families, households, labour force) are derived.

Regional council area (region)

 The Local Government Commission established regional councils in 1989. Regional council areas cover every territorial authority in New Zealand with the exception of the Chatham Islands territory. The geographical boundaries of regions conform as far as possible to one or more water catchments. In determining regions, consideration was also given to regional communities of interest, natural resource management, land use planning, and environmental matters.

There are 16 regions in New Zealand. Twelve of these regions are administered by regional councils while the Gisborne, Tasman, Nelson, and Marlborough regions are administered by their respective district or city councils. The boundaries of territorial authorities are generally the same as regional council boundaries, although there are eight instances where territorial boundaries straddle regional boundaries.

Replacement level fertility

 The average number of children a woman needs to have to produce one daughter who survives to childbearing age. It is also described as the total fertility rate required for the population to replace itself, without migration.

The internationally accepted replacement level is 2.1 births per woman. It allows for the mortality of females between birth and childbearing and the birth of more boys than girls. On average, throughout the world, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. The actual replacement level will vary slightly among countries depending on child mortality rates. In countries with high child mortality, the total fertility rate will need to be higher than 2.1 births per woman to achieve replacement level.

Resident population concept

A statistical basis for a population in terms of those who usually live in a given area at a given time. The census usually resident population count is a census measure, and the estimated resident population is a demographic measure, of the resident population concept.

In terms of vitals data (births, deaths, marriages, etc), the resident population concept refers to events registered in New Zealand to New Zealand residents only.

Resident temporarily overseas

A person who usually lives in New Zealand but who is overseas for a period of less than 12 months.

Rural area

The rural areas of New Zealand are those not defined as urban. They include: 

  1. Rural centres – centres with populations of 300 to 999 in a reasonably compact area that service their surrounding rural areas. 
  2. Area units where they are not included in main, secondary, or minor urban areas, and inlets, islands, inland waters, and oceanic waters that are outside urban areas. The population on shipboard is excluded from the rural-urban classification.

Short-term arrival

A visitor from overseas who intends to stay in New Zealand for less than 12 months, or a New Zealand resident returning to New Zealand after an absence of less than 12 months.

Short-term departure

A New Zealand resident departing New Zealand for an intended period of less than 12 months, or a visitor from overseas departing New Zealand after a stay of less than 12 months.

Standardised death rate

The overall death rate that would have prevailed in a standard population if it had experienced the age-specific (usually age- and sex-specific) death rates of the population being studied.

Stillbirth

The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act which took effect from 1 September 1995, redefined a stillbirth as a child who is born dead and weighs 400g or more, or is born dead after the 20th week of gestation. Before the new Act, a stillbirth was defined as a child born dead after 28 weeks of gestation. This change in definition means that stillbirths from September 1995 onwards are not directly comparable with earlier years.

Territorial authority

The smallest local government entities, created by the local government reorganisation that took effect on 1 November 1989. Based on 2006 boundaries, there are 16 cities, 56 districts and one territory. Banks Peninsula district became part of Christchurch city on 6 March 2006.

Territorial authority boundaries are defined by aggregations of area units. When defining the boundaries of territorial authorities, the Local Government Commission placed considerable weight on the 'community of interest'.

Total fertility rate

 The average number of live births that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific fertility rates of a given period (usually one year). It excludes the effect of mortality.

Total pregnancy rate

The average number of pregnancies that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific pregnancy rates of a given period (usually one year). It excludes the effect of mortality.

Urban area

Non-administrative areas with urban characteristics and a high to moderate concentration of population. The classification of urban areas was revised for the 1991 Census of Population and Dwellings into three parts – main, secondary, and minor urban areas:

  1. Main urban areas – centres with populations of 30,000 or more. There are currently 16 main urban areas (12 in the North Island and four in the South). Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Napier-Hastings are further subdivided into zones.
  2. Secondary urban areas – centres with populations between 10,000 and 29,999. There are currently 14 secondary urban areas.
  3. Minor urban areas – centres with populations of 1,000 or more not already classified as urban (that is, not falling within a main or secondary urban area). There are currently 99 minor urban areas and, together with the above two categories, they constitute the urban population of New Zealand.

Urban areas are currently defined on the basis of the 1996 Census usually resident population count. As a result, Greymouth is still classified as a secondary urban area, even though the 2001 Census usually resident population count, and the estimated resident populations at 30 June 2001–05, fall below 10,000.

Vital statistics

Statistics of events such as births, deaths, and marriages that influence the numbers of a population.

Workforce

 The population aged 15 years and over who regularly work for one or more hours per week for financial gain, or work without pay in a family business.

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