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2006 Census Ethnicity Question Clarified

2006 Census Ethnicity Question: February 2006

28 February 2006

2006 Census Ethnicity Question Clarified

Statistics New Zealand has acknowledged the growing public discussion of the 2006 Census question on ethnicity. The discussion concerns the lack of a tick box for ‘New Zealander’ on the census form. Census General Manager Nancy McBeth believes that while the discussion is healthy, it is important to clarify why the question is being presented as it is.

“The 2006 question on ethnicity is exactly the same as that asked in the 2001 Census, so that the information can be compared between censuses,” Ms McBeth said. This was the recommendation from a wide range of users of census data in a review completed in 2004, she said.

The review found that the ability to compare ethnicity responses across censuses provides important information about how New Zealand’s society is changing.

The review also recognised that some people wanted to write in their ethnicity as New Zealander and, as a result, Statistics NZ has introduced a change to the way it will publish ethnicity information.

There is no specific tick box on the census form for ‘New Zealander’, but the number of people who write in ‘New Zealander’ will be included with census results published in late 2006. “Statistics New Zealand regularly reviews questions and topics across all of its surveys, in consultation with key data users,” Ms McBeth said. Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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