Variable Description

Weekly rent paid by household (information about this variable and its quality)
Weekly rent paid by household (information about this variable and its quality)

Weekly rent paid by households is the total amount of money spent weekly by a household on obtaining shelter in a private dwelling. This sum normally excludes payments for the use of furniture and utilities (such as electricity, gas, and water) and for the provision of special services such as washing or cooking.

Other Variable Information

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).

Weekly rent paid by household 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 priority level for weekly rent paid by households remains the same as 2013.

Quality Management Strategy and the Information by variable for weekly rent paid by households (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.

Subject population

Households in rented occupied private dwellings

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

How this data is classified

Census weekly rent paid by household V2.0.0

Weekly rent paid by household is a flat classification with single dollar categories from ‘0000 No rent paid’ and ‘0001 $1 weekly rent paid’ to ‘9001 Over $9,000 weekly rent paid’ inclusive, as well as residual categories.

0000 No rent paid

0001 $1 weekly rent paid

0002 $2 weekly rent paid

0003 $3 weekly rent paid



8999 $8,999 weekly rent paid

9000 $9,000 weekly rent paid

9001 Over $9,000 weekly rent paid

99999 Not elsewhere included

‘Not elsewhere included’ contains the residual categories of ‘response unidentifiable’ and ‘not stated’.

The classification of weekly rent paid by household in the 2018 Census is consistent with the classification used in the 2013 and 2006 Censuses.

Weekly rent paid by household is usually grouped for output.

The following output classifications for weekly rent paid by households are available with different output bands:

  • weekly rent grouped under $50 to $600 and over
  • weekly rent grouped under $100 to $600 and over
  • weekly rent grouped mixed bands to $600 and over.

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

Question format

Weekly rent paid by household data is derived from the weekly rent paid by household question on the dwelling form (question 8 on the paper dwelling form).

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

There have been no changes to the method of collection for this variable since 2013 but there have been changes to the method of collection for tenure of household which will have affected the subject population for this variable and therefore the inclusion of households in this data.

There were differences between the wording and question format in the online and paper versions of this question.

  • Online, the rent amount question had a text box that only appeared if the respondent selected ‘other’ for payment frequency.
  • Online, respondents were asked to enter the ‘period between rent payments’, whereas on paper, the wording was ‘print period’.

There were also differences in the way a person could respond:

On the online dwelling form:

  • the rent indicator and rent amount questions were only displayed if the response to the dwelling owned or in family trust question was ‘neither of these’
  • only one response could be selected for rent indicator and rent period
  • the rent amount question was only displayed if the respondent had selected ‘yes’ for rent indicator.
  • only numeric responses for rent amount were possible
  • built-in editing guided respondents away from unlikely or inconsistent responses (for example yes for rent indicator but rent amount of $0)
  • the maximum rent amount that could be given was $99,999
  • an as-you-type auto-suggestion list was provided for ‘other’ rent period (for example annual) once respondents started typing something in the drop-down free text field for ‘other’.

On the paper dwelling form:

  • it was possible to give a rent amount and rent period without having answered rent indicator
  • non-numeric responses or responses including decimal points and cents could be given for rent amount
  • multiple responses to the tick boxes for rent indicator (question 7) and rent period (question 8) were possible. These were resolved by edits.

How this data is used

Outside Stats NZ

  • Producing median rent data by geographical location (regional and territorial authority).
  • Estimation of the residual income available for disposal on other expenditure items by the household (this also requires household income information).
  • Investigating the adequacy of low-rent dwellings (together with the sector of landlord, number of rooms and occupied dwelling type variables).

Within Stats NZ

  • In compiling the national accounts and the Consumers Price Index.
  • For regional analysis, looking at differences between public and private sector rentals, changes over time, average rents etc.

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 weekly rent paid by household -
households in rented occupied private dwellings
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 80.2 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 11.0 percent
Statistical imputation 8.1 percent
No information 0.7 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)

The ‘no information’ percentage is where we were not able to source weekly rent paid by household data for a household in the subject population.

Administrative data sources

Data from the following administrative sources was used:

  • Housing New Zealand Corporation
  • Tenancy Bonds, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Please note that when examining weekly rent paid by household data for specific population groups within the subject population, the percentage that is from 2013 Census data, administrative data, and statistical imputation may differ from that for the overall subject population.

Missing and residual responses

No information’ in the data sources table is the percentage of the subject population coded to ‘not stated’. In previous censuses, non-response was the percentage of the subject population coded to ‘not stated.’

In 2018, the percentage of ‘not stated’ is lower than previous censuses due to the use of the additional data sources described above.

Percentage of ‘not stated’ for households in rented occupied private dwellings:

  • 2018: 0.7 percent
  • 2013: 3.6 percent
  • 2006: 2.7 percent.

Responses that could not be classified or did not provide the type of information asked for such as response unidentifiable remain in the data, where we have been unable to find information from another source. In the data sources table, these residuals are included in the ‘Response from 2018 Census’ percentage.

For output purposes, as with the 2013 and 2006 censuses, this residual category response is grouped together with ‘not stated’ and classified as ‘not elsewhere included’.

Percentage of ‘not elsewhere included’ for households in rented occupied private dwellings:

  • 2018: 1.1 percent
  • 2013: 3.7 percent
  • 2006: 2.8 percent.

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.

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.

Administrative data was mostly comparable to 2018 Census responses while data sourced through statistical imputation was moderately comparable to census forms. The high proportion of data from received forms and admin data in comparison to the low proportion sourced from statistical imputation contributed to a score of 0.95, determining the high quality rating.

Quality rating calculation table for the sources of weekly rent paid by household data –
2018 households in rented occupied private dwellings
Source Rating Percent of total Score contribution
2018 Census form 1.000 80.30 0.80
Admin data 0.890 11.03 0.10
Donor’s 2018 Census form 0.600 6.93 0.04
Donor’s response sourced from admin data 0.534 1.06 0.01
No Information 0.00 0.68 0.00
Total 100.00 0.95
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: High quality

Weekly rent paid by household data is consistent with expectations across nearly all consistency checks, with some minor variation from expectations or benchmarks that make sense due to real-world change, incorporation of other sources of data, and changes in how the tenure of household variable has been collected that affect this variable.

There was a minor deviation from previous data and expectations:

  • higher proportions in the lower rent ranges than expected based on previous census data, however this is likely to be due to improvements in data quality.

Data quality: Moderate quality

The data quality checks for weekly rent paid by household included edits for consistency within the dataset and cross-tabulations to the regional council level.

Weekly rent paid by household data has various data quality issues involving several aspects of the data. The data quality issues are related to processing issues (including scanning mis-recognition) and respondent misinterpretation.

The following problem remains in the data:

  • there may be some incorrect and unlikely high rent amounts.

Recommendations for use and further information

While new imputation methods and administrative data have been used to produce the 2018 Census data, the overall quality of the data is moderate and comparable with 2006 and 2013 data

However, when using this data you should be aware that:

  • data has been assessed to be consistent at the regional council level. Some variation is possible at geographies below this level
  • changes seen in this data for the lower rent ranges are likely to be related to better quality data for households renting from Housing New Zealand
  • the data may contain some incorrect high rent amounts.

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

This variable is not part of a dataset.


Aggregation Method


Conceptual Variable