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Dunedin City CouncilCommunity profile

Dunedin City

About the Census

All population and demographic data in Dunedin City's Community Profile is sourced from Statistics New Zealand.

Population figures

The most comprehensive count of the New Zealand population is derived from the Census of Population and Dwellings, conducted by Statistics New Zealand (Tatauranga Aotearoa) every 5 years. It is an official count of all people and dwellings New Zealand on Census night, and collects details of age, sex and other characteristics of New Zealand's population. The Statistics Act 1975 prescribes that a census be conducted every 5 years and provides a basic outline of Census content, though questions can and do change over time. The last New Zealand Census was conducted on 6 March 2018. It was the 34th census.

Census statistics are used as the basis for estimating the population at national and regional levels, for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. They are used by individuals and organisations in the public and private sectors for planning, administration, research and decision making.

Populations are estimated in various ways. It is important to understand how a population has been derived when you are using the data.

Census data in the Community Profile section of is predominantly based on usual residence data, while some household and dwelling information is based on place of enumeration. The estimated resident population can be found in the Additional Information section of this website.

Usual residence population

This population is derived from the Census. It is the place where a person usually lives, rather than the place where they were counted on Census night. Each person completing the Census is required to state their address of usual residence and this information is used to derive the Usual Residence population at the meshblock level.

Usual Residence is the main method of assessing the population in the Census, and information on this basis is available back to 2006. Because of this it is used as the default option in, and all data relating to individuals is presented based on their usual residence.

Enumerated population

This population counts people where they are on Census night, regardless of whether it is their usual address or not. Enumerated population is not used for most of the profile topics, however topics concerning households and dwellings have to use a form of enumerated data, as households which are away from their usual address on Census night don’t have their household characteristics recorded at their place of usual residence.


The information presented in the tables in the Community Profile is based on detailed tables produced by Statistics New Zealand. Statistics NZ take confidentiality of data very seriously, and in 2018 they revised the basic rules to ensure that information is only used in aggregate, and no data about individuals can be ascertained from the Census data. There are now seven basic rules that determine sensitivity, when to suppress small cells, and add noise.

Table totals and subtotals will be internally consistent but discrepancies may be observed between tables cross-tabulating the same population by different variables. While randomisation compromises the table totals by making them appear inconsistent, this is the best available socio-demographic data at the suburb level. This level of compromise is not statistically significant and should not impact on decision makers making effective resource allocation and planning decisions.

No reliance should be placed on small cells as they are disproportionately impacted by random adjustment, respondent and processing errors.

Further information on confidentiality and random adjustment can be found in the Stats NZ fact sheet: Summary of 2018 Census confidentiality rules.

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