Census night address (information about this variable and its quality)


Census night address is the physical location of the dwelling where a person was located on census night. For passengers on overnight trains and buses, the recommended census night address is the destination of the passenger.



Variable Details

Other Variable Information

Priority level

Priority level 1

We assign a priority level to all census variables: Priority 1, 2, or 3 (with 1 being highest and 3 being the lowest priority).

Census night address is a priority 1 variable. Priority level 1 variables are core census variables that have the highest priority in terms of quality, time, and resources across all phases of a census.

The priority rating for census night address remains the same as 2013.

Quality Management Strategy and the Information by variable for census night address (2013) have more information on the priority rating.

Overall quality rating for 2018 Census

Moderate quality

Data quality processes section below has more detail on the rating for this variable.

The External Data Quality Panel has provided an independent assessment of the quality of this variable and has rated it as moderate quality. Initial Report of the 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel has more information.

Subject population

Census night population

‘Subject population’ means the people, families, households, or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

How this data is classified

Meshblock 2018 V1.0.0

Census night address uses the one-level meshblock classification consisting of seven-digit standard meshblock codes.

Meshblocks are the smallest geographic unit for which statistical data is collected by Stats NZ. Meshblocks vary in size from part of a city block to large areas of rural land. Each meshblock abuts another to cover all New Zealand, extending out to the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (approximately 320 kilometres). Meshblocks aggregate to build larger geographic areas, such as area units, territorial authorities, and regional councils.

Address information (street number, name, and type; suburb or rural locality; and city, town, or district) is used to place a person into the classification.

This data is also output at higher geographic levels, including statistical areas, territorial authorities, Auckland local boards, and regional councils.

The Standards and Classifications page provides background information on classifications and standards.

Question format

Census night address is collected on the online household set-up form and the individual paper form.

Stats NZ Store House has samples for both the individual and dwelling paper forms.


  • access codes were pre-populated with address information
  • if a respondent’s census night address was different to the pre-populated address, they could use an as-you-type list to auto-suggest and complete new address information.

On paper:

  • respondents wrote in their census night address.

How this data is used

Outside Stats NZ

  • Providing information on how communities are changing.
  • Understanding service populations, eg in tourist areas.

Within Stats NZ

  • Accurately counting dwellings and their occupants for the geographic coding of personal and dwelling records.
  • Assigning dwellings to neighbourhoods and regions.

2018 data sources

We used alternative data sources for missing census responses and responses that could not be classified or did not provide the type of information asked for. Where possible, we used responses from the 2013 Census, administrative data from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), or imputation.

The table below shows the breakdown of the various data sources used for this variable.

2018 Census night address – census night population
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 84.3 percent
Response from 2018 partial forms 4.7 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 2.6 percent
Statistical imputation 8.4 percent
No information 0.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  

Partial response is where the census night address of an individual was provided on the household set-up form or the paper dwelling form, but we did not receive an individual online or paper form

Administrative data sources

Data from the following administrative source was used:

  • data from the range of sources available in the IDI was used to source address information. When people change addresses, they usually contact a number of different organisations to notify them of the change. This change of address information is then kept in an address notification table in the IDI. Stats NZ used the table to create a prioritised address history for all individuals where address information exists, specifically for 2018 Census purposes. We used a set of business rules to limit the full address table to a list of residential addresses.

Address notifications came from the following sources in the IDI:

  • Accident Compensation Corporation
  • Inland Revenue
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Household Economic Survey (Stats NZ)
  • New Zealand Transport Authority
  • Household Labour Force Survey (Stats NZ)
  • Auckland City Mission
  • Department of Corrections
  • Ministry of Defence.

Addition of administrative records to the New Zealand 2018 Census dataset: An overview of statistical methods has more information on the methodology.

Please note that when examining census night address data for specific population groups within the subject population, the percentage that is from administrative data and statistical imputation may differ from that for the overall subject population.

Missing and residual responses

As with previous censuses, census night population count does not have a non-response (‘not stated’) category. In 2018, if a respondent did not provide a census night address, a response was imputed to the question.

In the 2006 and 2013 Censuses, all received forms included a meshblock code filled in by the collector who dropped off the forms. When a respondent did not answer the question, the census night address was taken to be the form’s meshblock code.

2013 Census data user guide provides more information about non-response in the 2013 Census.

Data quality processes

Overall quality rating: Moderate quality

Data was evaluated to assess whether it meets quality standards and is suitable for use.

Three quality metrics contributed to the overall quality rating:

  • data sources and coverage
  • consistency and coherence
  • data quality.

The lowest rated metric determines the overall quality rating. For this variable, the lowest metric was consistency and coherence which is moderate quality.

Data quality assurance for 2018 Census provides more information on the quality rating scale.

Data sources and coverage: High quality

We have assessed the quality of all the data sources that contribute to the output for the variable. To calculate a data sources and coverage quality score for a variable, each data source is rated and multiplied by the proportion it contributes to the total output.

The rating for a valid census response is defined as 1.00. Ratings for other sources are the best estimates available of their quality relative to a census response. Each source that contributes to the output for that variable is then multiplied by the proportion it contributes to the total output. The total score then determines the metric rating according to the following range:

  • 98–100 = very high
  • 95–<98 = high
  • 90–<95 = moderate
  • 75–<90 = poor
  • <75 = very poor.

Admin data and data sourced through statistical imputation was moderately comparable to 2018 Census responses.

The high proportion of data from received forms in comparison to the low proportion sourced from statistical imputation contributed to the score of 0.96.

Quality rating calculation table for the sources of census night address data – 2018 Census night population
Source Rating Percent of total Score contribution
2018 Census form 1.00 84.33 0.84
2018 Census (missing from individual form) 1.00 4.69 0.05
Admin data 0.77 2.61 0.02
Within household donor 0.70 0.64 0.00
Donor’s 2018 Census form 0.60 7.16 0.04
Donor’s 2018 Census (missing from individual form) 0.60 0.06 0.00
Donor’s response sourced from admin data 0.46 0.41 0.00
Donor’s response sourced from within household 0.42 0.09 0.00
Total 100.00 0.96
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s) or score contributions.      

Data sources, editing, and imputation in the 2018 Census has more information on the Canadian census edit and imputation system (CANCEIS) that was used to derive donor responses.

Consistency and coherence: Moderate quality

The 2018 Census night address data is moderately comparable with data from previous censuses. The data is mostly consistent with expectations across consistency checks. There is an overall difference in the data compared with expectations and benchmarks that can be explained through a combination of real-world change, incorporation of other sources of data, and a change in how the data is collected. In 2018, the collection method focused on mailing out access codes to most dwellings and online response. This differed from the traditional approach used in previous censuses where collectors were in all areas to visit all dwellings up to three times before and after census day and record census night information in field books.

Data quality: High quality

The final quality rating for the data quality metric is high. There are only minor data quality issues. The quality of coding for census night address is very high.

Recommendations for use and further information

Individuals who were administratively enumerated may have been counted at their usual residence rather than their census night address, if these addresses were different. This is due to the nature of administrative address data, which tends to collect a person’s usual residence.

Census night location data is only collected by census.

Contact our Information Centre for further information about using this variable.

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