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Information about the census


The 2013 Census

Census was held on Tuesday, 5 March 2013. Every person in New Zealand was asked to fill out a census form.

March is chosen for the census because most people are back from holidays and there is not much seasonal work that takes people away from their homes. The census is held on a Tuesday because people are statistically less likely to be out that night of the week.

Who gets counted?

Everybody in the country on census night, including babies and visitors, gets counted in the census. It's an official count of the population. Statistics New Zealand puts together data and publishes the results in tables and reports. 2006 Census data is available.

Why is the information gathered?

The census gathers information about the numbers of people, their age, family, schooling, jobs, and where people live. It is how we can get a full picture of what's really happening in our country, because everyone takes part.

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. Information from the census is also used by councils, community groups, iwi, and businesses to plan for the future.

How is the census taken?

For the 2013 Census, New Zealand has been divided into 23 areas then into 422 districts and over 46,000 meshblocks. Census forms are delivered to each house and picked up afterwards by a collector, or people can fill in and submit the census forms online.

Did you know?

  • The census questionnaires are printed in both English and Māori/English.
  • During the collection phase of the 2013 Census, more than 7,000 collectors will deliver census forms to approximately 4.2 million people and 1.6 million dwellings.
  • After the 2006 Census, approximately 5.1 million returned forms were scanned over 53 working days to get the forms ready for analysis.
  • The 1945 Census reported that one-third of New Zealand's population took between 1–5 minutes to travel from home to work.
  • In 1956, the census asked for the first time about refrigerators and electric washing machines in New Zealand households. Over 40 percent of New Zealanders did not have access to electric clothes-washing machines.