Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Glossary and references


Consensual union

Two people usually resident in the same dwelling who:

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


Any building or structure, or part thereof, that is used (or intended to be used) for the purpose of human habitation. It can be of a permanent, temporary or even mobile nature and includes structures such as motels, hotels, hospitals, prisons, motor homes, huts, and tents.

At the highest level, dwellings are classified as private or non-private. A private dwelling accommodates a person or a group of people, but is not available to the public. Included are: houses, flats and apartments; residences attached to a business or institution; baches, cribs and huts; garages; caravans, cabins and tents; vehicles; vessels; or dwellings of the above types that are under construction.

All other dwellings are non-private and are available to the public. They may be available for use generally, or by virtue of occupation or study, special need, or legal requirement. Such dwellings may have facilities (such as a dining room) that are for shared use. These dwellings include: hotels and motels; guest houses and boarding houses; hostels; public and private hospitals; homes for the elderly; educational, welfare, religious and charitable institutions; prisons and penal institutions; defence establishments; work camps, staff quarters and seasonal quarters; motor camps; and other communal dwellings. If this type of accommodation includes units that are designed for the exclusive use (temporarily) of one or more people, the units are considered to be part of the non-private dwelling and not separate non-private dwellings. Private residences that are attached to non-private dwellings are, however, considered to be separate private dwellings.

Familial relationship

A relationship in which a person is related to another person by blood, registered marriage, consensual union, fostering or adoption.


One person who usually resides alone or two or more people who usually reside together and share facilities (such as eating facilities, cooking facilities, bathroom and toilet facilities, a living area).

Non-familial relationship

A relationship in which a person is not related to another person by blood, registered marriage, consensual union, fostering or adoption.

Relationship (to reference person)

The variable that collects the relationship(s) of any one person to all the other people in a group of people. See relationship.

Registered marriage

A marriage for which a marriage certificate has been signed legalising the marriage of two people. People who are legally married have signed a marriage certificate that is valid at the time of the survey.

Related people

People who have a familial relationship.

Unrelated people

People who have a non–familial relationship.

Usual residence

Usual residence is the address of the dwelling where a person considers himself or herself to usually reside, except in the specific cases listed below.

  1. People who board at another residence to attend primary or secondary school, and return to their parent’s(s’) or guardian’s(s’) home for the holidays, usually reside at the address of their parent(s) or guardian(s). Post–secondary students usually reside at the address where they live while studying.
  2. Children in joint custody 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. A person from another country who has lived, or intends to live, in New Zealand for 12 months or more usually resides at his or her address in New Zealand (as in external migration).
  6. People of no fixed abode have no usual residence.
  7. People who spend equal amounts of time residing at different addresses, and can not decide which address is their usual residence, usually reside at the address they were surveyed at.
  8. If none of the above guidelines apply, the person usually resides at the address he or she was surveyed at.


A person who is present in a dwelling at the time of the survey but does not usually reside in that dwelling.

Residual categories

Don’t know

Use of this category is discretionary. The use of a category capturing don't know responses is most applicable to household surveys where don't know may be a legitimate response to certain questions.

Refused to answer

This category is only used when it is known that the respondent has purposefully chosen not to respond to the question. Use of this residual category in processing is optional. Its use is most applicable in face–to–face or telephone interviews, but may be used in self–completed questionnaires if the respondent has clearly indicated they refuse or object to answering the question.

Response unidentifiable

This category is used when there is a response given, but:

  1. the response is illegible, or
  2. it is unclear what the meaning or intent of the response is – this most commonly occurs when the response being classified contains insufficient detail, is ambiguous or is vague, or
  3. the response is contradictory eg, both the yes and no tick boxes have been ticked, or
  4. the response is clear and seemingly within the scope of the classification but can not be coded because no suitable option (particularly other residual category options such as 'not elsewhere classified' or 'not further defined') exists in the classification or codefile.
Response outside scope

This category is used for responses that are positively identified (ie the meaning and the intent are clear) but which clearly fall outside the scope of the classification/topic as defined in the standard.

Not stated

This category is only used where a respondent has not given any response to the question asked, ie it is solely for non–response.


Statistics New Zealand (1995). New Zealand Standard Classification of Households and Families, Wellington.

Statistics New Zealand (1999). Statistical Standard for Relationship to Reference Person, Wellington.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+