Families and households: household composition (information about this variable and its quality)


Household composition classifies households according to the relationships between usually resident people. The classification is based on how many and what type(s) of family nuclei were present in a household, and whether or not there were related or unrelated people present.



Variable Details

Other Variable Information

This variable is currently not available.

Priority level

Priority level 2

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

Household composition is a priority 2 variable. Priority 2 variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation, or monitoring. These variables are given second priority in terms of quality, time, and resources across all phases of a census.

The census priority level for household composition is the same as 2013.

Quality Management Strategy and the Information by variable for household composition (2013) have more information on the priority rating.

Overall quality rating for 2018 Census

Very poor quality

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

Subject population

Households in private occupied dwellings (visitor-only private dwellings are excluded)

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

How this data is classified

Household Composition Standard Classification 2008 V1.0.0

Household composition is a hierarchical classification with three levels. Level one of the classification has 6 categories, level two has 19 categories while level three contains 31 categories.

The level one categories are:

1 One-family household (with or without other people)

2 Two-family household (with or without other people)

3 Three or more family household (with or without other people)

4 Other multi-person household

5 One-person household

6 Household composition unidentifiable

At level two of the classification, one-family households are classified according to family type, and whether there are other people present. For two-family households in which both families contain children, the criterion is the number of parents in each family. Two-family households that contain at least one 'couple-only family' are not classified to the same level of detail as two-family households in which both families contain children.

At level three of the classification, the criterion for classifying one-family households is whether the other people present are related or unrelated to the family nucleus. In two-family households, the criterion for classification at level three is whether the families are related or unrelated.

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

Question format

Household composition data comes from the following questions:

On the online form:

  • the household set-up form asks for a resident list
  • this list includes visitors to the household.

The household set-up form asks about usual residents who are absent on census night, whether they are in New Zealand or overseas, and whether they are away for less than 12 months or 12 months or more.

On the paper form:

  • question 17 on the dwelling form: relationship to reference person
  • question 20 on the dwelling form: absentee relationship to reference person
  • question 17 on the individual form: living arrangements.

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

How this data is used

Outside Stats NZ

  • By central government agencies, local authorities, private organisations, and researchers in the formulation of social policy, for planning and monitoring programmes, and for research purposes.

Within Stats NZ

  • To derive household and family projections.

Data quality processes

We are currently investigating whether we can improve the quality of family and household data.

The very poor quality rating for family and household data is due to:

  • missing household data
  • non-responding dwellings with no admin enumerated individuals, resulting in no households at the dwellings
  • admin enumerated individuals placed in meshblocks rather than dwellings, leading to incomplete households.

Family and household data include the following problems:

  • people counted at the wrong address
  • duplicate forms
  • incorrect family coding
  • respondent error.

Revision Information

Currently viewing revision 4 by on 3/10/2019 12:55:20 a.m.

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3/10/2019 2:16:37 a.m.
Revision 3
22/09/2019 9:53:26 p.m.


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