What is the census? He aha te tatauranga?

The census is a nationwide survey that provides an official count of people and dwellings in Aotearoa New Zealand. It gives a snapshot of life, people, and communities every five years.

The census (officially called the Census of Population and Dwellings) provides an understanding of all the people in Aotearoa New Zealand and where they are living. It is a complete picture of life in our cities, towns, rural areas, and outer islands. By law, everyone must take part in the census. 

Census data is used by lots of different groups to help meet our needs as citizens and communities. To best represent who we are, our communities, and groups in the population we are part of, it is important that all people feel comfortable to fill in the census.

Hands opening a wooden letterbox to retrieve mail with the census logo on it

When you take part in the census, you are asked to complete one or more survey forms about you, where you live, and the people you live with. When you provide this information, we keep your name, address and phone number private and confidential. 

Stats NZ takes the information from everyone's survey forms to produce a data set about the people, communities, homes, and economy for Aotearoa New Zealand. Your privacy is the most important thing to us. By combining your data with everyone else’s before it is released publicly, we make sure no one can find out anything about you, where you live or the people you live with. 

Some types of information gathered by the census is the highest quality information we hold as a nation. It includes how our households and families are structured, changes to our cultural diversity, the qualifications we have, and how we travel to work and school. Knowing these things helps us understand how we, as a nation, are faring in many aspects of life and informs how billions of dollars are spent across the country and in our communities to make a difference to everyone’s future.