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Teachers page: How do people get to work?

In the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings we asked how people travelled to work on census day.

Did you know?

The greatest number by far travelled by car, truck, van, or company bus. Over 1 million people!
The walkers and joggers came next. There were 93,000.
Over 52,000 people travelled on public buses.
41,000 rode a bike to work.
17,000 rode a motorbike or power cycle.
15,000 took trains.
13,000 travelled to work in some other way- like a skateboard.


1. Draw up a dot plot. Each dot will represent 5,000 people. The car, truck, van and company bus travellers will run off your paper so draw an arrow to represent them.
2. Now find out how the students in your class get to school. Use the same options as the census did (cars, bus etc) and draw a dot plot for your class. Each dot will represent one person.
3. Compare the class pattern with your first dot plot. Is it similar, a bit different or a lot different?
4. Try using a different type of graph to display the data from the census, eg a bar graph. You can use the data in this spreadsheet travelling to work.
5. What do you think the reason for the difference/similarity is?
6. If all New Zealand school students took part in the Census At School project and we chose a random student, would this student most likely travel to school by car?

Use Quickstats about a Place if you want to find out how people travelled to work in your area. Choose your region and then select transport on the top menu.

If you would like to participate in a class census to demonstrate this then there is a lot of useful information on the Census at Schools website that can be of assistance.