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Ethnicity is a key social factor used with other topics in describing the New Zealand population. Information collected on ethnicity is used to inform, plan, and evaluate services and policies by a wide range of organisations, local authorities and government agencies.
Major uses of ethnicity data are:
The statistical standard for ethnicity was developed to ensure that ethnicity is collected consistently for all surveys and administrative collections. Data from a large number of collections is combined with other sources, such as the population census, to produce official measures in a range of areas such as education, health, employment and unemployment, income, housing and crime. Unless consistent ethnicity data is available, valid and reliable measures cannot be produced. Lack of consistency across different collections means data may not be comparable.
For all of these considerations the statistical standard for ethnicity encourages the use of a standardised concept, definition, collection, coding method, and output, as given in this standard, to promote data consistency and comparability in all official statistics.
This statistical standard has been developed from the recommendations in the Report of the Review of the Measurement of Ethnicity released in June 2004. This report established the continued need for collection of detailed ethnicity data and the need to measure ethnicity in a consistent way across all official statistics.
Key recommendations from the Report of the Review of the Measurement of Ethnicity:
The standard has been subsequently amended on the basis of recommendations contained in a 2009 review of the ethnicity standard. The 2009 report addressed the impact of 'New Zealander' and like responses which featured at the 2006 census of population and dwellings.
The standard classification of ethnicity is a hierarchical classification of four levels. Level 1 of the classification has six categories and is used solely for output. Level 2 has 21 categories, level 3 has 36 categories and level 4 has 233 categories – excluding residual categories. The residual categories are defined in Glossary and references.