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Questions Announced for 2001 Census

The questions for the 2001 Census on Tuesday 6 March were announced today by Government Statistician Brian Pink.

To reduce the time it takes to fill out a census form, there are fewer questions in total to answer. There are 43 on the individual form and 22 on the dwelling form. This compares to 54 and 21 respectively for the last census in 1996.

"It's important to make the census as easy as possible so everyone can take part," Brian Pink says.

New questions have been added on ownership of dwellings and on people's unpaid activities including unpaid work and education. The question on how we communicate with each other has been updated and expanded to include the Internet and fax. 1996 Census questions measuring fertility rates and smoking have not been included this time.

About 5.2 million census forms will be printed, one for every individual and household in the country. The forms have been made wider than in 1996 to allow for an improved layout with larger text. Extensive testing has been done to ensure that they can be readily completed and give quality results.

A bilingual Mäori/English form has also been developed. This provides questions in both official languages side-by-side and can easily be completed by fluent Mäori language speakers and those with some competence in the language.

The bilingual forms will be delivered to every household in Northland, the East Cape area (Whakatane to Wairoa) and the Chatham Islands. English-only forms will be delivered to households in all other areas, although bilingual forms will be available in those areas from the enumerator or by phoning the census helpline.

There will be an option for people to request their individual form to be archived. The law requires Statistics New Zealand to keep those forms that are to be archived for 100 years before they can be released. Forms that are not archived will be destroyed at the end of census processing.

The release of the Census 2001 questions follows public consultation which began in April 1998. A wide range of users has been consulted including communities for which the census provides valuable information.

It is expected that the first results of the census count will be released at the end of May 2001. Full results will be available early in 2002.

The census provides a snapshot of New Zealanders every five years and shows the way that society has changed over time. It is a key source of information for people living in cities, towns, suburbs and rural communities which is used in the planning of relevant services both now and in the future.

Census information is kept absolutely confidential and no individual answers from census questions can be identified from census statistics.

Copies of the sample questionnaire form are available from Statistics New Zealand website:

Brian Pink Government Statistician


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