2018 New Zealand census

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Thirty-fourth census of New Zealand
← 2013
General information
CountryNew Zealand
Date taken6 March 2018; 19 months ago (2018-03-06)
Total population4,699,755[1]
Percent changeTBD
Annual percent change2.1%[1]
Most populous regionAuckland
Least populous regionWest Coast

The 2018 New Zealand census was the thirty-fourth national census, which took place on Tuesday 6 March 2018.[2] Results from the 2018 census were released to the public on 23 September 2019, from the Statistics New Zealand website.[3]



The Census Act 1877 required censuses to be held every fifth year and is well embedded in legislation and government systems.[4] Since 1881, censuses have been held every five years, with the exceptions of those in 1931 and 1941 and the one in 2011 which was cancelled due to the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, which displaced many Canterbury residents from their homes only a few weeks before census day. It was rescheduled for March 2013, so the 2013 census is the previous census completed before this one.[5]

Issues and controversies[edit]

Originally, it was estimated that the 2018 census saw a drop in response rates from 94.5 percent of individuals in 2013 to 90 percent.[6] This drop, which amounted to the lowest census response rate for fifty years, has been blamed on a 'digital-first' policy for the census and an independent inquiry on the issue was scheduled to report in July 2019.[7][8] In November 2018, Statistics NZ announced that release of the census results would be pushed back to at least April 2019 due to "the complex nature of the task".[9]

In early April 2019, the Government Statistician was facing possible charges of contempt of parliament. She had twice refused, on 13 February and in early April, to disclose the number of partially and fully completed responses.[10] On 9 April, she reported that one in seven New Zealanders, 700,000 people, failed to complete the census.[11]

In August 2019, an independent review of the 2018 census criticised the Chief Statistician Liz MacPherson's leadership of Statistics New Zealand. Due to a decision to conduct the census solely online, the census attracted only an 83% response rate, even lower than the 90% earlier reported, well short of the 94% census percent target and a nine percent drop from the previous 2013 New Zealand census. In response to the report, MacPherson resigned as chief statistician on 13 August 2019.[12][13][14]


The 2018 census collected data on the following topics:[15]

Population structure
  • Absentees
  • Age*
  • Legally registered relationship status
  • Name*
  • Number of children born
  • Partnership status in current relationship
  • Number of occupants on census night*
  • Sex*
  • Dwelling address*
  • Census night address*
  • Usual residence*
  • Usual residence one year ago‡
  • Years at usual residence
Culture and identity
  • Birthplace
  • Ethnicity*
  • Iwi affiliation
  • Languages spoken
  • Māori descent*
  • Religious affiliation
  • Years since arrival in New Zealand
Education and training
  • Field of study
  • Highest qualification
  • Highest secondary school qualification
  • Level of post-school qualification
  • Study participation
  • Hours worked in employment per week
  • Industry
  • Occupation
  • Sector of ownership
  • Status in employment
  • Unpaid activities
  • Work and labour force status
  • Workplace address
  • Sources of personal income
  • Total personal income
Families and households
  • Child dependency status
  • Extended families
  • Family type
  • Household composition
  • Access to basic amenities†
  • Access to telecommunication systems
  • Dwelling counts (occupied, unoccupied, under construction)
  • Dwelling dampness indicator†
  • Dwelling mould indicator†
  • Individual home ownership
  • Main types of heating‡
  • Number of rooms*
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Occupied dwelling type
  • Sector of landlord
  • Tenure of household*
  • Weekly rent paid by households
  • Education institution address†
  • Main means of travel to education†
  • Main means of travel to work‡
  • Number of motor vehicles
Health and disability
  • Cigarette smoking behaviour
  • Disability/activity limitations‡

* Required to be included under the Statistics Act 1975 or the Electoral Act 1993
† Topic not included in 2013 census
‡ Topic significantly modified from 2013 census


Statistics New Zealand annually conducts population projections for New Zealand as a whole, which are based on data from the previous census (in this case, the 2013 census) and calculated using a cohort-component method. Population projections also take into consideration births, deaths, and net migration.

In 2016, New Zealand's population at the time of the 2018 census was projected to be between 4,807,000 and 4,944,000.[16]


  • Resident population count was 4699755, up 457707 from the 2013 Census.[3]
  • On average, the population grew by around 2.1% per year since the 2013 Census – significantly higher than the annual average growth between 2006 and 2013, which was 0.7%.[3]
    • The higher growth rate is consistent with higher net migration of 259,000 in the five years ended 30 June 2018 compared with 59,000 in the seven years ended 30 June 2013.[3]
  • Among children (under 15 years), males outnumbered females, with around 105 males for every 100 females. The ratio declined with age: there were 104 males for every 100 females in the age group of 15–29, 95 males for every 100 females at ages 30–64 years, and 87 males for every 100 females at age 65 or above.[3]
  • There was a total of 1855962 occupied and unoccupied private dwellings, 108558 more than in 2013.[3]
    • Ten percent of private dwellings were unoccupied.[3]


  1. ^ a b "NZ population nears 5 million after fastest growth in 50 years". NZ Herald. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  2. ^ "2018 Census". Stats NZ. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "2018 Census population and dwelling counts". Stats NZ. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  4. ^ Future New Zealand censuses: Archived 2013-02-14 at the Wayback Machine Implications of changing census frequency or adopting other models
  5. ^ "2018 Census". Stats NZ. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Update on release of 2018 Census data". Statistics New Zealand. 10 July 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019. Stats NZ’s interim calculations show that full or partial information for at least 90 percent of individuals was received, compared with 94.5 percent for the 2013 Census.
  7. ^ Huffadine, Leith (11 October 2018). "2018 Census - what happened?". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 7 January 2019. The 2018 Census had the lowest response in more than 50 years - now a team is looking for answers.
  8. ^ Cooke, Henry (12 July 2018). "Census response rate drops as survey moves to online focus". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  9. ^ "2018 Census data release delayed". Stats NZ. 27 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Government Statistician Liz MacPherson faces complaint to Speaker Trevor Mallard over 2018 Census data". The New Zealand Herald. 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  11. ^ "One in seven failed to complete Census 2018, a back down from Govt Statistician reveals". Stuff.co.nz. 10 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Head of Stats NZ Liz MacPherson resigns over botched census". Radio New Zealand. 13 August 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  13. ^ Manch, Thomas (13 August 2019). "Census 2018: Chief Statistician Liz MacPherson has resigned". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  14. ^ Whyte, Anna (13 August 2019). "Government's top statistician resigns in wake of Census 2018 debacle". 1 News Now. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-08-06. Retrieved 2017-08-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "National Population Projections: 2016(base)–2068 (spreadsheet)". Stats NZ. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2019.