Unpaid work ramps up as Santa prepares to head South

Santa might be just days away from landing in Aotearoa New Zealand but there’ll be no rest in many households over the next couple of weeks as cooking, cleaning, and child-minding ramps up across the motu for the festive period.

15 December 2022

How much unpaid work people have done in the four weeks leading up to Census Day on 7 March 2023 is just one of the questions being asked in the five-yearly New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings. 

“Unfortunately, while all that back-breaking extra work during the festive season won’t be counted in the next census, the clean house and the stuffed turkey will, we have no doubt, be appreciated by families and friends at Christmas,” Deputy Government Statistician and Deputy Chief Executive – Census and Collections Operations Simon Mason said. 

The 2018 Census showed that almost 86 percent of people aged over 15 carried out some form of unpaid work around the house in the four weeks leading up to Census Day.  Unpaid work around the house includes cleaning, cooking, carrying out repairs, and gardening.

Unpaid work also includes looking after children and anyone in your household who is ill or has a disability, babysitting other people’s children, and voluntary work outside the home for any organisation, group, or marae. 

“By completing the census, you create a better idea of what you, your family, and your community need. All responses are combined to produce statistics that provide a picture of life in Aotearoa New Zealand and how it is changing,” Mason said. 

Census packs will start being delivered from mid-February next year. Significant improvements have been made to make participation in the 2023 Census easier for a wide range of people. 

“Census teams are working hard to ensure that everyone has what they need to complete the census when the time comes, so they can be fairly represented in the census data produced,” Mason said. 

“And just in case anyone’s wondering, we won’t be asking whether people have been naughty or nice in the 2023 Census. We’ll leave that to Santa.”