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Appendix: Differences between NZSAC92 and SSGA18

Although some of the statistical geographies have the same name as the 1992 classification, they differ in concepts and geographic coverage. The following table defines the 1992 and 2018 geographies and explains the changes.

 Differences between NZSAC92 and SSGA18
 Meshblock  Meshblock

The smallest geography area used in the collection and/or processing of data, variable in population and area size from 0–500 residents.
In 1991, there were 35,152 meshblocks. In 2013, there were 46,637 meshblocks.

The smallest geographic unit for which statistical data is reported by Stats NZ, with an ideal size range of 30–60 dwellings (around 60–120 residents).
In 2018, there are 53,589 meshblocks.
 Statistical area 1 (SA1)
No equivalent An output geography that allows the release of more low-level data than is available at the meshblock level.
SA1s are built by joining meshblocks, SA1s have an ideal size range of 100–200 residents, and a maximum population of about 500.
In 2018, there are 29,889 SA1s.
 Area unit  Statistical area 2 (SA2)
Aggregations of meshblocks.
Non-administrative areas that are in between meshblocks and territorial authorities in size.
Define, or aggregate to define, regional councils, territorial authorities, and urban areas.
They define rural centres.
The area unit pattern was reorganised after the 1989 local government changes. Area units were adjusted in response to changes in the boundaries of local government areas and urban boundaries, to reflect a redistribution of population, to establish rural centres, and to establish logical area units in rural areas.
In 1991, there were 1,717 area units.
In 2012, there were 2,020 area units.

An output geography for higher aggregations of population data than can be provided at the SA1 level.
Aim to reflect communities that interact together socially and economically.
SA2s are built by joining SA1s, and are coterminous with territorial authority and regional council boundaries.
The target population size varies from 2,000–4,000 in city council areas, and 1,000–3,000 in district council.
SA2s replace area units. Although the concepts are generally the same, SA2s are different to area units because of:
• urban/rural boundary changes
• improved delineation of communities and suburbs
• creation of business-commercial SA2s
• splitting or combining area units that are outside the target population size.
In 2018, there are 2,253 SA2s.

 Urban area  Urban area
Designed to identify concentrated urban or semi-urban settlements, urban areas are statistically defined areas with no administrative or legal basis.
Defined by complete area units and independent of local government and other administrative boundaries.
Subdivided into:
• main urban area: 30,000+ residents
• secondary urban area: 10,000–29,000 residents
• minor urban area: 1,000–9,999 residents.
Main and secondary urban areas are centred on a significant urban centre and have to satisfy at least three of these criteria:
• strong economic ties
• cultural and recreational interaction
• serviced from the core for major business and professional activities
• an integrated public transport network
• significant workplace commuting to and from the central core
• planned development within the next 20 years, as a dormitory area to, or an extension of, the central core.
To become a minor urban area, a rural centre must reach a population of 1,000 and provide at least five of these services:
• school
• community facilities
• recreational amenities
• specialised services
• specialised retail businesses
• financial services
• visitor accommodation.
In 2013, there were 143 urban areas.
Characterised by high population density with many built environment features where people and buildings are located close together for residential, cultural, productive, trade, and social purposes.
Defined by complete SA2s and independent of local government and other administrative boundaries.
Urban area criteria:
• more than 1,000 residents and a high population density
• high coverage of built physical structures and artificial landscapes
• strong economic ties where people gather together to work, and for social, cultural, and recreational interaction
• planned development within the next 5–8 years.
Subdivided into:
• major urban area: 100,000+ residents
• large urban area: 30,000–99,999 residents
• medium urban area: 10,000–29,999 residents
• small urban area: 1,000–9,999 residents.
Differ from 1992 urban areas because they:
• are smaller in area and population because they do not include a commuting zone
• are more tightly defined to improve population density calculations
• some small urban areas were previously part of a main urban area, eg Mosgiel, which was previously part of the Dunedin urban area.
In 2018, there are 178 urban areas.
 Rural area  Rural area
Area outside urban areas Rural settlements plus other rural areas
 Rural centre  Rural settlement
Has 300–999 residents.
Enables users to distinguish between rural dwellers living in true rural areas and those living in rural settlements or townships.
Defined by complete area units.
Not separately identified in the urban area classification.
In 2013, there were 133 rural centres in the area unit classification.
A cluster of residential dwellings about a place that usually contains at least one communal or public building.
Rural settlement criteria:
• 200–1,000 residents, or more than 40 residential dwellings
• represent a reasonably compact area or have a visible centre of population with medium population density
• usually contain at least one community or public building, such as a church, school, or shop.
Includes newly identified rural settlements in rural areas and rural settlements that were part of an urban area in NZSAC92.
In 2018, there are 400 rural settlements.
   Other rural
  Mainland areas and islands located outside urban areas and rural settlements.
 Water  Water
• inland water not in urban area
• inlet not in territorial authority
• inlet in territorial authority but not in urban area
• oceanic in region but not in territorial authority
• oceanic.
• inland water by territorial authority
• inlet by territorial authority
• oceanic by region.
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