Ethnicity is the ethnic group or groups a person identifies with or has a sense of belonging to. It is a measure of cultural affiliation (in contrast to race, ancestry, nationality, or citizenship). Ethnicity is self-perceived and a person can belong to more than one ethnic group. An ethnic group is made up of people who have some or all of the following characteristics: • a common proper name • one or more elements of common culture that need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language • a unique community of interests, feelings, and actions • a shared sense of common origins or ancestry • a common geographic origin. This definition is based on the work of A Smith (1986) “The Ethnic Origins of Nations”.
The criterion for classification of ethnic groups is self-identification with one or more ethnicities. Detailed ethnic group information is collected so that responses can be coded to specific ethnic group categories at the most detailed level of the classification, level four. Where this is not possible, information may be coded to level two or level three.
Individual ethnic groups are aggregated into progressively broader ethnic groups from level three up to level one, according to geographical location or origin, or cultural similarities
Ethnicity is a hierarchical classification with four levels. Level one has six categories and a residual category. Level two has 21 categories and six residual categories. Level three has 36 categories and six residual categories. Level four has 234 categories and six residual categories. Consult Aria for the full list of categories in all levels.
Level one categories are: 1 European 2 Māori 3 Pacific Peoples 4 Asian 5 Middle Eastern/Latin American/African 6 Other ethnicity 9 Residual categories
The process to randomly reduce the number of responses to six in situations where people have given more than six ethnicities was designed not to exclude people from any of the level 1 groupings of ethnicities that they had identified with. Only a small number of people gave more than six ethnicities, so effect is minor. The six ethnicities (_rand6 variables) were expanded from three ethnicities (_rand3 variables), which were used in census data prior to 2000.en-NZ