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Census night population count

Definition

The census night population count of New Zealand is a count of all people enumerated by census, who were present in New Zealand on census night.

A person is considered ‘present in New Zealand’ if on census night, they were:

  • on New Zealand soil
  • on a vessel in New Zealand waters
  • travelling between New Zealand ports.

The census night population count is as at midnight on census night.

Subnational count

The census night population count of an area in New Zealand is a count of all people enumerated by census, who were present in that area on census night.

For example, a Christchurch city resident visiting Wellington city on census night is included in the census night population count of Wellington city.

The terms ‘census’, ‘New Zealand’, and ‘subnational’ are defined in the glossary.

Who is in this count?

Included

  • Residents in New Zealand.
  • Visitors from overseas, including:
    • People in diplomatic residences in New Zealand
    • Foreign military personnel and their families in New Zealand.
  • Visitors from elsewhere in New Zealand (for subnational counts only).

Excluded

  • Residents temporarily overseas.
  • Residents temporarily elsewhere in New Zealand (for subnational counts only).

Terms such as ‘visitor’, ‘visitor from overseas’, ‘resident’, and ‘resident temporarily overseas’ are defined in the glossary.

Data quality

During the census collection process, we apply strategies to try to count everyone in New Zealand.

If we get sufficient evidence during the collection process that a person exists or a dwelling was occupied, but do not receive a corresponding form, we create a substitute record. We do this during the processing stage.

Inevitably, given the complexity and size of the census, some people in New Zealand on census night are not counted by the census. Apart from creating substitute records (as described above), we make no adjustment to the census night population count for undercount or overcount.

The terms ‘net census undercount’ and ‘substitute record’ are defined in the glossary.

How to use this term

The wording of the term ‘census night population count’ clarifies its source as a census count, and differentiates it from the other two population measures.

Use the full standard term when presenting data. For example:

  • “The census night population count of New Zealand at 5 March 2013 was 4,353,198.”

Do not use shortened terms, such as ‘census night population’, because they can be confused with other population measures.

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