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2018 Census

The 2018 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings will take place on Tuesday 6 March 2018. The census is the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand.

Information from the census helps determine how billions of dollars of government funding is spent in the community. It is used to help make decisions about which services are needed and where they should be, such as hospitals, kōhanga reo, schools, roads, public transport, and recreational facilities. Census information is used by councils, community groups, iwi, and businesses to plan for the future.

Our next census

The next census will be different. Before census day, most households will be sent a letter with a unique access code, so that they can respond online. In some parts of the country, we’ll still deliver census packs, but all households will be able to take part online in 2018.

Paper forms will still be available for those who prefer them.

Address checking

From June to August 2017, we will be out and about all over the country, checking 1.8 million addresses, to make sure we have a high quality address list ready for next year.

Approximately 300 staff will be working on this project. They will be carrying Stats NZ identification and wearing Stats NZ branded jackets while they are working.

Census tests

To prepare for the next census in 2018, we have run three public tests to check our systems and processes.

See 2018 Census testing programme to find out more about the tests we have run in 2016 and 2017.

2018 Census strategy

2018 Census strategy sets out the strategic direction for the 2018 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings. The strategy will focus our efforts, and guide our work programme and outputs for the 2018 Census in order to meet the needs of our customers.  

Review on 2018 Census content

The census needs to reflect real-world change and maintain relevance. We have undertaken a comprehensive review of content to ensure the 2018 Census reflects the information needs of our customers.

Our review to date has included looking at how previous questions performed, doing a stocktake of what the data is used for and who uses it, and considering international trends. We have consulted widely with our customers, stakeholders, and the New Zealand public.

While there is scope for change, we need to find the right balance between making changes to better reflect information needs in New Zealand today and being able compare data over time. We also need to consider factors such as the length and complexity of the questionnaire.

Following consultation, we published 2018 Census content: Summary of feedback from engagement and consultation. We will publish the 2018 Census final content report in 2017.


2018 Census content: Summary of feedback from engagement and consultation (published December 2015)
This report summarises the feedback we received about the Preliminary view of 2018 Census content.

Discussion forum closed

The discussion forum about 2018 Census content is now closed although discussions can still be viewed.

View the 2018 Census discussion forum 

2018 Census preliminary view of content

Preliminary view of 2018 Census content explains our initial thinking about content for 2018 Census. We published the preliminary view in preparation for public submissions on 2018 Census content. We accepted submissions from 18 May until 3 July 2015.

Updated 30 May 2017

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