Subnational Population Estimates Geographic Areas


Urban Rural (2018)


The urban rural geography classifies New Zealand into areas that share common urban or rural characteristics. It is used to disseminate a broad range of Stats NZ’s social, demographic, and economic statistics.

The urban rural classification separately identifies urban areas, rural settlements, other rural areas, and water areas. The urban areas represent densely developed spaces, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses. Rural settlements, other rural areas, and bodies of water represent areas not included within an urban area.

The urban rural indicator classifies urban, rural, and water areas by type. Urban areas are classified by population size; rural areas are classified as rural settlements or rural other; and water areas are classified as inland water, inlet, or oceanic.

To ensure that the urban rural geography covers all of geographic New Zealand, bodies of water are classified separately, using the land/water demarcation classification described in the Statistical standard for meshblock. These water areas are not named, and are defined by territorial authority or regional council.

Urban areas and rural settlements are delineated by the inspection of aerial imagery, local government land designations on district plan maps, address registers, property title data, and any other available information. However, because the underlying meshblock pattern is used to define the geographies, boundaries may not align exactly with local government land designations or what can be seen in aerial images.

Urban areas are built from SA2s. Rural and water areas are built from SA1s.

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