What is census data used for? Ka whakamahia ngā rarauranga tatauranga mō te aha?

Census data is used to make important decisions that affect your life.

Government agencies, councils, iwi, community groups, and businesses use this data to make decisions about, and plan for, services that affect us all. By taking part in the census you are helping create a better understanding of your community and what it needs. 

Health and wellbeing

Census information is used by government to plan health services such as hospitals, and by health and social service providers to make the case for health and social services where they are needed. 


The government uses census data to understand how it will fund schools including teachers, and where schools will be.  

Two women from different generations cook together in a family kitchen

Community services 

Councils use census data to decide where to put community services such as libraries and parks. 

Community groups and organisations use census information to support funding applications and make the case for improvements within their communities. Local clubs use census population counts to understand whether there are enough people to form sports teams.  

Your church may use census data to make sure they have enough space for everyone in their congregation and to understand what services people in their communities might need. 

Transport, internet, and other infrastructure 

Government and councils use census data to understand where public transport, roads, power, internet, water, and sewerage services are needed and how many people will be using them.  


Councils and government use census data to understand whether homes in Aotearoa New Zealand are big enough for our families, where we need to build new housing, and what condition people’s homes are in. 


Iwi may use census data to understand more about their people, where they are living, and how they are faring. This helps to plan for future generations, and may influence funding, services, or other initiatives. 


Businesses use census data to make investment decisions and determine how they can meet demand for their products and services. 


Researchers might use census data to understand things like: 

  • how mouldy and damp housing affect communities 
  • how many people do not have good access to clean water, schools, or hospitals 
  • how ethnic communities are growing and changing over time and what services they use and need.