July 6, 2011

A Less Frequent Census for New Zealand?

The New Zealand government, which conducts a national census every five years, is considering a change to taking a census every 10 years instead. According to news reports, Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson told a legislative committee that it might be easier and more sensible to switch to a 1o-year frequency. No decision has been made, he said.

In another interview, the director of the Population Studies Centre at Waikato University, Richard Bedford, raised concerns about a less frequent census. Counting the population every 10 years would sacrifice valuable information about shorter-term change, especially in a country where international migration plays a prominent role, he said.

The New Zealand census was scheduled to be taken this year, but has been postponed until 2013 because of damage and disruption caused by a large earthquake.