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Background

Census Transformation in New Zealand

In March 2012 the New Zealand Government agreed to a Census Transformation strategy. This strategy has two strands:

  • a focus in the short-to-medium term on modernising the current census model and making it more efficient 
  • a longer-term focus on investigating alternative ways of producing small-area population and social and economic statistics. This includes the possibility of changing the census frequency to every 10 years, and exploring the feasibility of a census based on administrative data (Statistics New Zealand, 2014a).

The next census in 2018 will be significantly modernised, including an online completion target of 70 percent and re-use of administrative data to support collection and processing.

Continuing to meet critical information needs must underpin decisions on the future of census. Investigations into the long-term direction for census are focused on developing an understanding of future census information requirements, and the ability of administrative sources to meet those requirements.

See Census Transformation in New Zealand for more information.

About this paper

The most important and fundamental reason for having a census is to provide population statistics that describe the size, structure and geographic distribution of the population. A central component of investigating a census based on administrative data is understanding whether administrative data sources can provide accurate information about where people live.

This paper examines the quality of location information in the administrative data sources held in Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) compared with the geographic information contained in the 2013 Census. This comparison will provide a better understanding of the quality of location information in government sources. Together with other Census Transformation work this will enhance our understanding of whether administrative data can meet critical information needs.

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