Statistical area geographies are aggregations of meshblocks optimised to be of similar population sizes to enable the release of low-level data. They are non-administrative areas that are in between meshblocks and territorial authorities in size. Statistical areas either define or aggregate to define urban rural areas, territorial authorities, and regional councils. These are new geographies and should not be confused with the ‘Statistical area’ geography used in past censuses.
The statistical area 1 (SA1) geography is a new output geography that allows the release of more detailed information about population characteristics than is available at the meshblock level. SA1's have an ideal size range of 100–200 residents, and a maximum population of about 500, exceptions are unpopulated islands with no residents and apartment blocks with more than 500 residents.
The statistical area 2 (SA2) geography is a new output geography that provides an output geography for higher aggregations of population data than can be provided at the SA1 level. The SA2 geography aims to reflect communities that interact together socially and economically. In populated areas, SA2's generally contain similar-sized populations of 1,000–4,000 residents, exceptions to this are large water bodies and large areas that are sparsely populated, for example, Fiordland. The SA2 geography replaces the area unit geography. Although the concepts for SA2's are generally the same as the area unit concepts, the boundaries and names have changed to reflect changes in land use and population patterns since the 1992 geography was created.
See also ‘Meshblock’ in this definitions group.