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Guidelines for presenting population data

Follow these guidelines when you present population data.

1. When making a table or graph, include the full standard term. This will prevent the data from being misleading if used separately.

2. When writing about data, use the full standard term at the beginning of each section of text, and make sure it appears at least once per page. This will prevent the data from being misleading if used separately.

3. Do not use shortened terms, such as ‘census night population’, ‘usually resident population’, and ‘resident population’, when presenting data. Shortened terms are not specific enough, and can easily be confused with other population measures.

4. After the full standard term has been used, general words or phrases may be used. For example:

  • these people
  • residents
  • those who usually live in New Zealand.

These terms refer generally to a population, but do not contain any detailed technical information. They are sufficiently broad terms that are unlikely to be used instead of the standard terms, and are only suitable for use alongside the standard term.

5. When subgrouping data, use the full standard term alongside the characteristic you are analysing. For example:

  • census usually resident population count of Māori ethnicity
  • census night population count of Pacific ethnicities
  • European ethnicities estimated resident population.

Do not split the full standard term. For example, it is not acceptable to use the term ‘estimated European ethnicities resident population’.

6. When responding to an ad hoc request, specify which population measure you have used. For example, a footnote that says ‘Based on the census usually resident population count, 2013 Census’.

7. Include the standard definition in any publication of population data. Preferably also specify the inclusions, exclusions, and quality note.

8. Include a copy of, or link to, this document, Standard for population terms, with population data. This will help users choose the most appropriate measure for their needs.

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