Another census disaster?

Newsroom reports:

On Friday last week, Stats NZ trumpeted in a press statement that four million people had returned their individual forms. “We didn’t hit this milestone until April 30 in the 2018 Census,” deputy government statistician Simon Mason said.

(Given the debacle five years ago, that’s not a surprise.)

Still, one-in-five people haven’t completed their forms this year. For people of Māori and Pacific descent, that figure is two-in-five.

I really hope the low return rate is a timing issue, but really four weeks after the census you should have more forms returned for a spend of $300 million.

Here’s the return rates for the last few censuses:

  • 996: 95.6%
  • 2001: 95%
  • 2006: 94.8%
  • 2013: 92.9%
  • 2018: 83.3%
  • 2023: 78.1% so far

Anything under 90% is basically unacceptable.

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