August 12, 2019

2018 Census - What questions can be answered

“Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” – Winston Churchill. Like the questions of Russia, some of the hardest questions can be answered through gathering and using the right information. With the release of the 2018 Census dataset, what questions will we be able to answer?

The answer is just about any question you have concerning New Zealand population, and by combining information from other surveys and sources you can answer an even wider array of questions.  The 2018 Census will be in position to provide substantial information on where New Zealanders are living, their age, sex, country of birth, qualification, occupation, family composition, household composition, income and a host of other demographic variables.

Though the primary purpose of the Census is to provide population and housing counts for New Zealand, which can then be used for drawing electoral boundaries, and funding district health boards.  The real value of the Census dataset is in being able to link the large amount of demographic detail available in the Census to employment, education, geographic, housing, family, and travel information.

By itself the Census dataset can allow researchers, policy makers and others to answer questions such as:

  • Has the number of people able to converse in Te Reo increased since 2013? And who are the people who can speak Te Reo? Has the number of non-Māori speakers of Te Reo increased?
  • How many people still smoke cigarettes in New Zealand and how has this changed since 2013? And who still smokes cigarettes? How many people under 25 smoke cigarettes?
  • How many people are employed, for example as economists, what industries they work in, where are they located in New Zealand, what is their level of qualification?
  • What percentage of houses in New Zealand are owner-occupied in 2018?  Where are these houses located within New Zealand? Who owns them?
  • What percentage of households in New Zealand are over-crowded in 2018? Where are these houses located within New Zealand? Who lives in these houses?
  • The total number of people who are employed, unemployed and not in the labour force? And how this changes across local council areas?

The 2018 Census dataset will provide an opportunity to enhance other data sources to greatly expand the utilisation of the data.  It will enable us to delve much deeper and explore questions such as what are the costs of raising children in New Zealand? And how have these costs changed over time? Which can be answered through combining Census data with the Household Economic Survey data.

Or even how affordable are local government rates? Which can be answered through combining Census data with Local Government rate data.

The first release of 2018 Census data occurring on 23 September 2019, will expand the basket of data to enable us to make more informed decisions at local and national level.