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Glossary and references

Area unit

Non-administrative areas made up of meshblocks. Area units aggregate to define geographic areas such as territorial authorities, regional councils, and New Zealand. At the 2013 Census there were 2,020 area units.

Census of Population and Dwellings

The five-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings is the official count of population and dwellings in New Zealand, providing a snapshot of society at a point in time.

The 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings was taken on Tuesday 5 March 2013, and the official time for the census to be taken was midnight of that day.

As Statistics NZ also conducts censuses for agricultural statistics, population data should reference the Census of Population and Dwellings in full.

De facto population concept

People 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. Statistics NZ stopped producing population estimates based on the de facto population concept in 1997, instead using the estimated resident population concept.

De jure population concept

See Usual residence.

Estimate (population)

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

Population estimates based on the resident population concept include adjustments for net census undercount and residents temporarily overseas. Population estimates based on the de facto population do not include these adjustments. Statistics NZ stopped producing population estimates based on the de facto population concept in 1997.

Availability of population estimates(1)

 Estimate type Availability  Frequency   Reference date(s)   Concept  
National population estimates(2) March 1991 to present Quarterly
  • 31 March
  • 30 June
  • 30 September
  • 31 December
Resident population
March 1936 to June 1997 Quarterly
  • 31 March
  • 30 June
  • 30 September
  • 31 December
De facto population
1926 to 1935 Annually
  • 31 December
De facto population
Subnational population estimates(3) 1996 to present Annually
  • 30 June
Resident population
1981 to 1995 Annually
  • 31 March
De facto population
  1. Population estimates are ‘as at’ the given reference dates. National population estimates ‘mean quarter ended’ and ‘mean year ended’ are also available as derived from the ‘as at’ population estimates.
  2. Available by single year of age and sex for 1936–75 (December de facto population estimates), 1976–95 (quarterly de facto population estimates), and from 1991 (quarterly resident population estimates).
  3. Available by five-year age groups and sex from 1996 for regional council and territorial authority areas. De facto population estimates relate to boundaries at 31 March 1995. Resident population estimates relate to latest boundaries. Population estimates for other geographic areas (eg urban areas, area units) are also available for some years.

Imputation

Replacing missing information with what is expected to be true information.

Migration

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

Net migration represents the net change (arrivals less departures) in the population of an area resulting directly from migration.

Meshblock

The smallest geographic unit for which Statistics NZ collects statistical data. Meshblocks vary in size from part of a city block to large areas of rural land. Each meshblock borders another to cover all of New Zealand, and extending out to the 200-mile economic zone (approximately 320 kilometres). Meshblocks aggregate to build larger geographic areas, such as area units, territorial authorities, and regional councils. At the 2013 Census, there were 46,637 meshblocks in New Zealand.

Natural increase

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

Net census undercount

Undercount (undercoverage) is the number of people missed who should have been counted.

Overcount (overcoverage) is the number of people counted who should not have been, or who were counted more than once.

Net census undercount (net undercoverage) is the difference between undercount and overcount of the census, usually expressed as a percentage of what should have been the complete count rather than as a percentage of what was counted.
Statistics NZ has conducted post-enumeration surveys after each Census of Population and Dwellings since 1996, to provide estimates of undercount, overcount, and net census undercount.

See definition of 'post-enumeration survey' 

New Zealand

For statistical purposes, the term 'New Zealand' refers to geographic New Zealand. In addition to North, South, Stewart, and Chatham islands, this includes offshore islands such as: Kermadec Islands, Three Kings Islands, Mayor Island, Motiti Island, White Island, Moutohora Island, Bounty Islands, Snares Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, and Campbell Island.

This does not include the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau. For the 2013 Census, people on ships in New Zealand waters and on the Taranaki and Southland oil rigs were included.

Post-enumeration survey

A sample survey to check the accuracy of coverage and/or response of another census or survey (for example the Census of Population and Dwellings).

Regional council

A regional council is defined by the Local Government Commission (unknown date) as "A local authority having jurisdiction over a region. Its main functions are related to environmental and resource management."

Regional councils were established in 1989, with boundaries conforming to one or more water catchments, and giving consideration to regional communities of interest. Regional councils are defined at the meshblock and area unit levels, and cover every territorial authority, with the exception of the Chatham Islands Territory. However, there are eight instances where territorial authorities straddle regional council boundaries. At the 2013 Census, there were 16 regional councils in New Zealand.

Resident

A person who usually lives in an area. This is a statistical, not a legal, definition generally based on a person's self-identified usual address. The term 'resident' may be used differently in other contexts, such as economic statistics.

In census statistics, a resident is a person who self-identifies on the census individual form that they usually live in an area. Residents overseas on census night do not complete a census form.

In international travel and migration statistics, a resident is a person who is living in New Zealand for 12 months or more.

Resident population concept

People 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.

Resident temporarily overseas

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

In census statistics, a resident temporarily overseas is a person who is identified on the census dwelling form as usually living in that dwelling but who is overseas for a period of less than 12 months.

In international migration statistics, a resident temporarily overseas is a person who is living in New Zealand for 12 months or more, and is overseas for less than 12 months.

Subnational

A geographical unit of a country, for example, area unit, territorial authority, or regional council. The boundaries of these units are defined for legal, administrative, or statistical purposes.

See definitions of area unit, territorial authority, and regional council.

Substitute record

A substitute is a census record Statistics NZ creates where we get sufficient evidence during the collection process that a person exists or a dwelling was occupied, but we received no corresponding form.

Substitutes are part of census non-participation, as although they are part of the census count, no forms were received from respondents. The other component of census non-participation is census undercount – people missed by the census.

Age, sex, and usual residence meshblock are imputed for substitute records. All other variables are coded to non-response. Substitution therefore has the effect of increasing the level of item non-response for non-imputed variables.

See definition of 'imputation' 

Territorial authority

City and district councils, defined by aggregations of meshblocks or area units. When defining the boundaries of territorial authorities, the Local Government Commission placed considerable weight on the 'community of interest'. Most harbours and fiords, and some offshore islands, are included in territorial authority boundaries. At the 2013 Census, there were 67 territorial authorities in New Zealand.

Usual residence

This is a statistical, not a legal, definition generally based on a person's self-identified usual address. The statistical standard for usual residence (2008) states that usual residence is the address of the dwelling where a person considers themselves to usually reside, except in the specific cases listed below.

  • Dependent children who board at another residence to attend primary or secondary school, and return to the home of their parent(s) or guardian(s) for the holidays, usually reside at the address of their parent(s) or guardian(s). Tertiary students usually reside at the address where they live while studying. If they give up their usual residence in the holidays (for example, terminate the lease on a flat or give up their hostel room) and return to the home of their parent(s)/guardian(s) during the holidays their usual residence over that period would be the home of their parent(s)/guardian(s).
  • Children in shared care usually reside at the place where they spend more nights, or if they spend equal amounts of time at each residence, they usually reside at the place where they are at the time of the survey.
  • People who are in rest homes, hospitals, prisons, or other institutions, usually reside where they consider themselves to live, and this may include the institution.
  • A person whose home is on any ship, boat, or vessel permanently located in any harbour shall be deemed to usually reside at the wharf or landing place (or main wharf or landing place) of the harbour.
  • A person from another country who has lived in New Zealand the past 12 months, or has the intention of living in New Zealand for 12 months or more, usually resides at his or her address in New Zealand (as in international travel and migration).
  • People of no fixed abode have no usual residence. However, for enumeration purposes, a meshblock of usual residence is assigned to people of no fixed abode based on their location on the date of data collection. They are still recorded as having 'no fixed abode'.
  • People who spend equal amounts of time residing at different addresses, and cannot decide which address is their usual residence, usually reside at the address they were surveyed at, assuming that they are not a visitor.
  • If none of the above guidelines apply, the person usually resides at the address they were surveyed at.

Visitor

A person who usually lives elsewhere. This is a statistical, not a legal, definition generally based on a person's self-identified usual address.

Visitor from overseas

A person who usually lives overseas. This is a statistical, not a legal, definition generally based on a person's self-identified usual address.

In census statistics, a visitor from overseas is a person who indicates on the census individual form that they usually live overseas.

In international travel and migration statistics, a visitor from overseas is a person who spends less than 12 months in New Zealand.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008). Population concepts. Available from www.abs.gov.au. 

Local Government Commission (unknown date). Glossary. Available from www.lgc.govt.nz.

Statistics New Zealand (2008). Usual residence. Available from www.stats.govt.nz.

United Nations (2013). Demographic yearbook 2012. Available from http://unstats.un.org.

Further reading

Department of Statistics (1992). New Zealand Standard Areas Classification Manual. Wellington: Author.

Statistics New Zealand (2013). 2013 Census Usually Resident Population Counts – Definitions.

Statistics New Zealand (2013). 2013 Census definitions and forms.

Statistics New Zealand (2013). 2013 Census collection methods.

Statistics New Zealand (2013). Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2013 (provisional).

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