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Follow-up Surveys


Statistics New Zealand undertook a Post-enumeration Survey (PES) and a post-census survey following the 2006 Census. The PES was undertaken to ascertain the level of coverage achieved in the 2006 Census; in other words, how successful the census was in achieving the goal of counting all people and dwellings in New Zealand on 7 March 2006. The special post-census survey was the Disability Survey.

Post-census surveys are typically of a relatively small or dispersed population, and the sample for the survey is drawn using variables collected in the census. This method focuses survey resources and reduces the need for time-consuming and expensive screening for the target population. The Disability Survey defined its sample using two census questions that allowed respondents to report any 'activity limitations' and whether the disability was long term.

Post-enumeration Survey

The Post-enumeration Survey (PES) was an important survey to check the enumeration processes of the census and the level of net undercount, or coverage, of the population. The PES was independent of the census and was managed and run by a different group of Statistics New Zealand staff.

The United Nations’ (UN) publication Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses (1998, United Nations, New York) states that a post-enumeration survey serves two principal purposes:

  • to inform users about the accuracy attached to census figures, and
  • to aid census officials in the improvement of subsequent censuses.

The New Zealand PES was conducted immediately after the census and followed the UN recommendations. Interviewers were in the field from 21 March to 3 April 2006. Using a small sample of the population (approximately 11,000 households), members of the selected households were interviewed to see if they had been counted on census night. Certain questions were asked that would help identify if any particular groups of people were undercounted or overcounted in the census. Participation in the PES, if selected, was compulsory under the Statistics Act 1975.

In 2001, the PES revealed that 97.8 percent of New Zealand residents in the country on census night were enumerated in the 2001 Census. This represents a net undercount of 2.2 percent or 95,000 people.

For further information on the PES and how it relates to quality in the census, refer to the section on quality.

Disability Survey

A post-censal Disability Survey was undertaken during the months of July to November 2006. The Disability Survey was undertaken as a result of increased demand for up-to-date information about people with disabilities and the need for improved knowledge of disability issues for policy and planning purposes. The survey includes respondents living in private households and respondents in non-private residential facilities.

The New Zealand Disability Strategy, released in 2001, requires government departments to monitor the impact of policy changes that relate to disability issues. Interest has increased in determining the location of people with disabilities, the nature of their disabilities and the effect the disability has on the ability to participate in work, education and society in general.

The topic of disability was only included in the 2006 Census to aid the selection of a sample for the post-censal Disability Survey. Two filter questions were included in the 2006 Census individual form to draw a sample for the nationwide Disability Survey. Question 16 aimed to identify whether the respondent had a health problem or condition that caused difficulty or stopped participation in a variety of activities. Question 17 asked whether the respondent had a disability or handicap that lasted for six months or more. No published census output was based on the two disability-related questions included in the census questionnaire.

The sample for the survey included members of the public who responded 'yes' to the census disability questions and people who responded 'no'. Children, working-age adults and people of retirement age were all included in the sample for the Disability Survey.

The Disability Survey collected information on the:

  • nature, extent and cause of disability
  • the impact of disability on the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities, and
  • unmet needs of people with disabilities for special equipment and support.

Approximately 30,000 people were selected to participate in telephone interviews and an additional 10,000 people for face-to-face interviews. This provided a total selected sample of 40,000.

The Disability Survey data was processed using a system separate to the census processing and output systems. The expected release date for the Disability Survey results is April 2007. The results from the Disability Survey will be used for a number of purposes. These include advocacy, profiling and development of services. The results will also be used for policy and planning purposes by a range of organisations, including government agencies, researchers and service providers.

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