Household Internet access by income

February 4th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released census data showing 77% of households have Internet access at home, up from 61% at the previous census. This varies greatly by household income.

  • Under $25,000 is 46%
  • $25 k to $50 k is 68%
  • $50 k to $100 k is 87%
  • Over $100k is 96%

Not entirely clear though if having an Internet capable mobile counts as home Internet access,

Auckland gets more religious

February 4th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

Auckland had the largest percentage of religious people in New Zealand at the 2013 Census, results from Statistics New Zealand show. The region also had more religious people than at the last census, in 2006.

Across New Zealand, the number of people who affiliated with a religion in 2013 fell 5.5 percent since the 2006 Census. Regional data released today shows that this trend was reflected in every region except Auckland, which had a 1.2 percent increase in the number of religious residents.

“Auckland was the only region with more religious people in 2013 than in 2006,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said. “It also had the highest proportion of people with a religion, at 59.6 percent, though this fell from 63.5 percent in 2006. Nationally, 55.0 percent of the population had a religious affiliation in 2013.”

I wonder why this is. A few theories.

  1. Most new immigrants come to Auckland, and new immigrants are more likely to be religious than those already here
  2. Auckland is home to more evangelical churches and they are being successful in converting people, especially in South Auckland
  3. Religious types are moving from other areas to Auckland

I think No 1 is most likely.

NZ by ethnicity

December 11th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The top 10 ethnicities in the census are:

  1. NZ European 68.0%
  2. Maori 14.9%
  3. Chinese 4.1%
  4. Samoan 3.6%
  5. Indian 3.6%
  6. New Zealander 1.6%
  7. Cook Islands Maori 1.5%
  8. Tongan 1.5%
  9. Filipino 1.0%
  10. English 1.0%

If one groups together you have (approx) for the four main ethnic groups:

  1. NZ European/NZer 69.6%
  2. Maori 14.9%
  3. Asian 11.4%
  4. Pacific 8.3%

NZ by religion

December 11th, 2013 at 7:46 am by David Farrar

The top 10 religions in NZ from the census are:

  1. Catholic 491,421 (11.6%)
  2. Anglican 459,771 (10.8%)
  3. Presbyterian 316,329 (7.5%)
  4. Christian  217,177 (5.1%)
  5. Methodist 97,320 (2.3%)
  6. Hindu 89,082 (2.1%)
  7. Buddhist 58,212 (1.4%)
  8. Baptist 53,496 (1.3%)
  9. Muslim 45,963 (1.1%)
  10. Pentecostal 45,777 (1.1%)

The mainstream Christian denominations represent around 40% of New Zealanders. Of those who have no stated religion they expressed it as:

  • No religion 1,635,348 (38.6%)
  • Not stated 301,608 (7.1%)
  • Object to answering 173,034 (4.1%)


Census data

December 3rd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ have released a bundle of census data today. Some interesting extracts, first on Maori:

  • Maori population up 5.9% compared to total population up 5.3%
  • Of the 598,605 who identify as Maori, 292,938 (49%) also identify as European.
  • Total who are of Maori descent is 688,724 up 3.8%
  • Maori population up most in Selwyn with a 51.2% increase and Mackenzie District 60% increase. Biggest drop in Kawerau with 14.2% reduction.
  • 50% more Maori have a bachelor’s degree than last census
  • A small drop in the number of Maori who can converse in te reo Maori – down 4.8% from 131,610 to 125,352. 7,824 claim they can speak Maori only, and not English.
  • 4,212 people claim to be Maori even though they also say they are not of Maori descent!

Wider ethnicity:

  • Almost 1 out of 8 people living in New Zealand are Asian, up from about 1 in 11 in 2006
  • In Auckland, over 1 in 5 are Asian
  • Hindi now 4th most common language after English, Maori and Samoan

If NZ was a village of 100 people:

  • 51 are female
  • In 1981, we had only 74 people and in 1926 just 33 people
  • The median age has increased from 28 to 38 since 1981
  • 14 villagers are Maori
  • 70 were born in NZ, 7 in Asia, 6 in UK/Ireland, 4 in the Pacific, 2 in Middle East/Africa, 2 in Europe and 1 in Australia and 1 in North America
  • 21 have a tertiary qualification
  • 36 are employed full-time and 11 part-time

Other stats:

  • 24.3% of women have a Level 5 or higher qualification and only 20.9% of men
  • The number of women earning over $40,000 increased 61.9% and the number of men 32.5%
  • Male median income increased 15.8% and female 20.9%
  • The number of households with a landline dropped from 87.8% to 81.1%

Regional Population Changes

October 15th, 2013 at 11:12 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ have released the regional population changes. The average annual change from 2006 to 2013 for each region is:

  1. Auckland 1.2%
  2. Nelson 1.1%
  3. Waikato 0.8%
  4. Tasman 0.8%
  5. Taranaki 0.7%
  6. Wellington 0.7%
  7. Otago 0.6%
  8. Bayof Plenty 0.6%
  9. Canterbury 0.5%
  10. Southland 0.4%
  11. West Coast 0.4%
  12. Hawke’s Bay 0.3%
  13. Northland 0.3%
  14. Marlborough 0.3%
  15. Manawatu-Wanganui 0.0%
  16. Gisborne -0.3%

The Auckland growth of 1.2% just over half of the growth rate the Auckland Council are using in their plans. Unless there is some reason to think the change is temporary, their plans should incorporate the new data.

The only region to shrink is Gisborne, which is good. A shrinking regional population makes it very hard to attract jobs and investment.

Of the 68 territorial authorities, 18 shrunk and 50 grew. The Ruapehu District shrunk the most at an annual average of 1.9% a year and the Selwyn District grew the most at 4.1% a year,

Within Auckland the smallest growth was 0.6% a year in five board areas. Albert-Eden had the lowest growth. The highest growth was in Upper Harbour at 3.3% a year.

At an area unit level Burwood has had a 63% reduction in population over seven years, Middlemore 62%, Kaiapoi East 59%, Cathedral Square 54%.

The biggest growth is Mission Heights from 48 people to 2,532 which is a 5175% growth over seven years.

UPDATE: Rather embarrassing for David Cunliffe that yesterday he was saying to the Taranaki Daily News:

Taranakians are leaving the province in droves because they’re being forgotten by the National Government, Labour leader David Cunliffe says.

Mr Cunliffe said Census data released today would show a widespread exodus from the regions as provincial New Zealanders flee forgotten small towns.

He said these towns had been gutted by the hands off approach of the National Government.

That’s an epic fail. Instead Taranaki grew by 0.7% a year, which is the fifth largest in the country. Does this mean David Cunliffe will now “blame” National for the 5,484 extra people now living in Taranaki over the last seven years? That compares to just 1,266 extra people in Taranaki in the five years before that (2001 to 2006).

The lesson for the Labour leader is wait until the data is released before you spin it. Telling the local paper the figures would show an exodus when it fact shows population growth three times stronger than the previous period is again a rather epic fail.

Auckland growth

October 8th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says new Census data which show that New Zealand population growth has halved since the last Census could prompt revision of Auckland’s infrastructure plans such as an increase in high-rise apartments and the construction of a city rail loop.

But Auckland Council is standing by its plans for growth, saying that Auckland is expected to grow faster than the rest of the country.

The council’s planning for the next 30 years is based on the prediction that the number of residents will grow by 1 million.

Mr Williamson said the first Census data in seven years indicated that this projection was far too high.

Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday showed that on Census night, there were 214,101 more people in New Zealand than at the previous Census in 2006. This meant the population had grown by 31,000 a year over the past seven years, compared to 58,000 a year in the previous period of 2001 to 2006.

“This is a huge surprise – bigger than Ben Hur,” Mr Williamson said. “It’s nearly half the growth rate that everyone had been basing their historic numbers on.”

This is why I think the Government’s funding position on the CRL is smart. Budgeted to start in 2010 2020, but with the provision to start earlier if there is sufficient population growth etc leading to inner city employment growth.

The planning documents assume that the region will grow by 2.2 per cent a year. As a result, they include proposals for more high-rise, small apartments in the suburbs and 160,000 homes outside the existing urban boundaries.

The Census data showed a national average increase of 0.75 per cent in population per year, but regional growth would not be revealed until next week.

One can make a dirty estimate if you ignore changes in the Maori roll.

The 21 electorates mainly in Auckland had an electoral population of 1,205,678 in 2006 and of 1,318,141 in 2013. That is growth of 112,463 or 9.3% over seven years.

That equates to an average growth of almost 1.3% a year – well below the 2.2%.

What difference does this make over time?

Well 2.2% a year for 30 years is a 92% growth while 1.3% for 30 years is a 47.3% growth.

What difference does that make to projected population? Well on 1.5 million current population the 2.2% figure means an extra 1.4 million residents while the 1.3% figure means an extra 710,000 – so a difference of around 700,000 Aucklanders.

I look forward to people claiming that we should ignore the census data and not change the Auckland plan. Of course we should wait for the official figures next week.



A national population register

April 24th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The national census could be scrapped and replaced with an “administrative census” that wouldn’t require everyone to fill out forms, under a plan being considered by Statistics New Zealand.

But civil libertarians should put the champagne on ice.

Statistics NZ said the switch would require a new compulsory “national population register” that would record where everyone lived and which could link to their tax and health records.

Additional socio-economic data normally gathered during the five-yearly census would be obtained from public databases and by a smaller survey that might cover about 5 per cent of the population. …

“Typically a national population register provides the essential population base and is linked to an address register, to birth and death registers, and to other administrative sources such as tax, health and education data.”

Kevin McCormack, secretary of the Council for Civil Liberties, said the lobby group would consider it important the register was used only for statistical purposes and that linked data did not identify individuals. “Otherwise, it is another form of creeping ‘Big Brother’.”

I find it amazing we don’t have this already. At any point in time we don’t have an accurate list of all NZ citizens, all NZ residents etc. The birth and death records are not linked to the immigration records. A register of residents and citizens would be very useful for electoral enrolment verification, as well as statistical purposes.

There are potential privacy issues, but I don’t see such a database as meaning the Government has any additional data on you – just that it is linked together, so that one can statistically analyse it.

Census Day

March 5th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Today is census day. However several hundred thousand people have already done their census online. I’m one of them, and it was very quick and easy to do.

The Herald reports the online system can only handle 200,000 an hour so there may be some delays today.

The census data will be used for all sorts of decisions in the future, such as population funding. One use of it also wil be in deciding electorate boundaries.

The law basically states there will be 16 South Island electorates. Their average population is used to calculate the number of North Island electorate and Maori electorates. There are currently 16, 47 and 7 respectively.

We won’t know until the census is done, and the Maori option is done, but there could be up to three new North Island electorates and one new Maori electorate. If so, that would mean 74 electorate MPs after the next election and 46 (down from a target of 50) List MPs.

Census frequency

January 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A proposal to shift to a 10-year census could seriously affect Christchurch’s recovery, critics say.

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson said in July 2011 the Government was considering holding the census once every decade.

Currently conducted every five years, the census helps determine electoral boundaries and funding for services like district health boards, schools and the police.

I’m not sure how a comment made 18 months ago is a news story today, unless there has been some more recent development.

Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said Christchurch was already living with the consequences of a delayed census.

“I’m not criticising the delay that we’ve had because obviously it was done for the right reasons. We would have got a very distorted view if it had gone ahead in 2011.”

However, delaying the census by two years did cause problems, particularly for this year’s local body elections, she said.

“The election will be based on boundaries that aren’t where people are living. I think that’s going to be a bit of a shake-up,” she said.

“I’d really want to see a good case put up for a delay. We’ve had the schools shake-up landed on the city without the benefit of knowledge about where the settlement patterns are going to fall and that’s wrong.”

Labour statistics spokesman Raymond Huo said a 10-yearly census would reduce costs to Statistics New Zealand, but it was “not that straightforward”.

“I think [Williamson’s] idea is half-baked at best because it’s not that simple,” he said.

“The key drivers are cost constraints and the demand for more frequent detailed and accurate statistics. Particularly for the Christchurch area, we need more frequent and accurate data.”

I agree with Dalziel and Huo that a move from five to 10 years is not desirable. I’m a bit biased as I am a frequent and large user of census data, but I think it would impact many areas of activity.

Census frequency

July 7th, 2011 at 8:06 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

Moving to a 10-year census could make trans-Tasman comparisons tricky and create problems for historians, a populations expert says.

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson said yesterday that the Government was considering pushing out the five-year census, after this year’s was delayed because of Canterbury’s earthquakes.

But Waikato University’s professor of population economics Jacques Poot said the shift would put data out of whack with Australia, which also collected information every five years. “New Zealand has a history that we have a census every five years and we do this in the same year as Australia.

“It has huge benefits for cross-country comparisons as well as for historians to look at long-term trends. We’ve been doing this since the late 19th century.

I think it would be regrettable to move from every five years to every ten years for the census.

A huge number of decisions are made on the data we get from the census, and in my experience the data gets stale fairly rapidly. For example if you even compare the sub-national population projections after five years with the results of the next census, you’ll see significant deviations from the projections.

2014 elections will be somewhat chaotic

May 28th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

The next census will be held in March 2013.

The Government and Statistics NZ had considered holding the census in March 2012, but agreed the time period would be too short to ensure accurate planning.

Mr Williamson said there were benefits in holding the census in 2013, including being able to revise the electoral boundaries and holding a Maori electoral option ahead of a 2014 general election.

It is a pity they couldn’t do it in 2012.

By having the census in March 2013, it means the boundary process won’t start until late 2013. They have to wait for the Maori option to be run first. If the boundary process starts late 2013, it means we won’t have final boundaries until the 1st half of 2014.

The boundary changes in 2014 could be quite significant.  Parties will probably not want to select candidates until the new boundaries are known. So it will mean electorate candidate selections will be delayed until 2014 also and will have to be rushed through in just a few months.

New Zealanders and the Census

April 29th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I agree with the Dom Post Editorial:

Statistics New Zealand has a problem. It is trying to squeeze square pegs into round holes.

The square pegs are the people who identified themselves as New Zealanders in the 2006 census. The round holes are the ethnic categories into which it wants New Zealanders to divide themselves.

Three years ago 400,000 people ignored the categories set out in the census form and wrote New Zealander in the “other” category. By using other sources of information, Statistics NZ has been able to build up a picture of those who refused to tick its boxes. It says more than 90 per cent were of European origin and they tended to be male, slightly older, better off and better educated than the general population.

However, the government statistician warns, in a discussion document issued this week, that if the number who ignore its official classifications continues to grow, the data collected in future ethnicity surveys will be rendered unusable. Good.

I don’t go so far as to say that is good (as I am a major user of said statistics) but I think that many in society are saying they do not regard themselves as purely European. And in fact over time many New Zealanders will have a mixture of European, Asian, Maori and Pacific ancestry. As a country we inter-marry between ethnicities far more than others.

I know people who have British and Maori ancestry. They don’t identify as either European or Maori.

According to Statistics NZ, the data is vital for the development of public policy. It is used to address social and economic inequality associated with membership of particular ethnic groups. Perhaps policy makers could try just addressing disadvantage.

Statistics NZ also suggests those who define themselves as New Zealanders are confusing ethnic and national identity. They are not. It is Statistics NZ that is confused.

According to the government statistician, an ethnic group is one which shares some or all of the following characteristics: a common proper name; elements of common culture such as religion, customs or language; a unique community of interests, feelings and actions; a shared sense of common origins or ancestry; and a common geographic origin.

The reason growing numbers of people are choosing to identify themselves as New Zealanders is because that is what they are, not just in a legal sense, but in a cultural sense.

I think a reasonable case can be made that “New Zealander” is a new emerging ethnicity – not just a nationality.

They are a group whose members have a common proper name, New Zealanders; share a common language, a version of English in which Maori terms and phrases are becoming increasingly common; share common values and interests; and share common origins and ancestry. The majority were born in this country, as were the parents and grandparents of many. There is nowhere else that they call home and no other group of people with whom they identify more closely.

Many Maori words have become “mainstreamed” as part of NZ English.

If what Statistics NZ really wants to know is the racial composition of those who identify as New Zealanders, that is what it should ask for although it might not like the response.

And that may be the way forward. Ask one question on ethnicity and another on racial composition.

But if it is genuinely interested in the ethnic makeup of New Zealand, it should open its eyes. A unique national identity is taking shape. It is one that incorporates elements of Maori, European, Pacific and now Asian culture. Home for its members is not on the other side of the globe. It is here. The language that is spoken is not the Queen’s English or Samoan or Cantonese, it is New Zild. And the values held by its members are not the values of London or Apia or Hong Kong, but of the Hutt Valley, South Auckland, Southland and Wellington.

That is something to celebrate, not to fret about.

Not all New Zealanders would see their ethnicity as New Zealand. Many Maori identify primarly as Maori. First generation Asian immigrants indetify as Asian. The second and third generations far less so, I would say.

Should the census include sexual orientation?

July 18th, 2008 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

An interesting article in the NZ Herald on the issue of whether there should be a question in the census on sexual orientation.

As someone who uses census data a lot, it would be incredibly interesting to have reliable information on sexual orientation demographics. There is almost no “hard” data anywhere in the world on how many people are gay, lesbian or bisexual. The old “common” figure of 10% is now widely seen as too high and 4% is thought to be closer.

Some will say, why should we even have demographic data on sexual orientation. Well for the same reasons we have data on gender, age, ethnicity, income, and location.

Now I’m one of those who wouldn’t care a fig if the census asked me my sexual orientation. However I can understand that it would be seen as pretty intrusive or worse by many respondents, and could affect the overall Census data.

And there is some potential for real problems to be caused in families. If you are bisexual and haven’t got around to mentioning this to your wife, then having her see you having ticked it on your census form isn’t the best way to let her know 🙂

Even if one got over the issue of alienating some respondents with such a question, a complicating issue is how do you define heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

Many homosexuals (well of those I know) have had sex with women. However they do not see themselves as bisexual. It was just a phase they say 🙂

The Dominion Post looks at this issue:

“Behaviour” describes whether someone’s partners are of the same or opposite sex; “identity” – their view of themselves as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual; and “attraction”, which sex or sexes they are attracted to.

Again it is not as simple as people may think. A surprisingly high number of women (again based on people I know) have actually had sex or made out with another woman. But they don’t regard themselves as bisexual. It was just experimenting for many of them.

If I was designing the census I guess I would use the “attraction” definition as identity is so variable and behaviour may just reflect lack of opportunity or follow through.

Also please don’t turn this thread into a debate on what you think of homosexuals or lesbians. This is about whether we should have reliable data on the prevalance of various sexual orientations.