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Census of Population and Dwellings – information for participants

Why are you carrying out the census?

The census provides an official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand. It is a snapshot of the people in New Zealand and where we live.

Information from the census helps determine how billions of dollars of government funding is spent in the community. It is used to help make decisions about which services are needed and where they should be, such as hospitals, kōhanga reo, schools, roads, public transport, and recreational facilities.

Census information is used by councils, community groups, iwi, and businesses to plan for the future.

Who takes part in the census? How did you select me?

Everyone in New Zealand is required, by law, to complete their census forms on census night.

See the Statistics Act 1975

How often do you carry out the census?

The census is held every five years.

The 2011 Census was called off following the 22 February Christchurch earthquake, due to the national state of emergency and the probable impact on census results.

The last census was held in March 2013, and the next census will be five years after this.

When do you carry out the census?

The 2018 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings will take place five years after it was last held in March 2013.

How can I complete the census forms?

Most people will be able to complete their forms online, without the need for a visit from a field officer. Completing the census form online will be secure, quick, and easy.

Paper forms will still be available for those who request them.

Census forms will be bilingual, in English and te reo Māori.

How long does it take to complete the census form?

In 2013 the average time to complete each form was approximately seven minutes. In 2018 we expect the forms to be easier to navigate and quicker to complete than in 2013.

What’s new?

  • We are modernising the census in 2018. A modernised census will (in the long term) save the taxpayer money, be more accurate in collecting data, and help us get the results out faster.
  • A key feature of the modernised census is online forms – making it easier for you to respond.
  • You’ll be able to use devices like mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and personal computers to complete the census forms.

 

Page published 10 March 2016

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