A census is an official count. It can be contrasted with sampling in which information is only obtained from a subset of a population. As such, it is a ethod used for accumulating statistical data, and it is also vital to democracy (voting). Census data is also commonly used for research, business marketing, and planning purposes. In New Zealand a census is held every five years. It is a snapshot on the chosen day when the number of people and dwellings (houses, flats, apartments) counted. Everyone in the country on that day is asked to complete census forms. There are two census forms. The blue individual form must be completed by everyone in your household on census day. The brown dwelling form must be completed by one person in our household. For the 2006 census an option was introduced to complete the forms on the Internet. Other initiatives included sending text messages about this process, amongst other things to the enumerators (collectors) whose job it is to collate the information in the field.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Hi-Five: During the census delivery phase enumerators had queue cards to prompt them to ask five questions of the householder. They were their name, the address, how many dwellings there were on the property, whether they wanted the English or Maori/English census form and whether they wanted to do the census using the Internet option.
District/Sub-District: An administrative area used in the census. There were 412 such districts in the country. Each district had up to 25 sub-districts, each assigned to a enumerator.
Internet ID: The household ID (district, sub-district, meshblock and dwelling) would form the Internet ID for the entire household. The components are 3,2,2,3 digits long respectively. A check letter is appended to this code.
Meshblock: The lowest unit at which aggregate statistical information is recorded.
E-Consultation: An interactive facility provided by local authority Web sites to allow citizens register and communicate by e-mail with their councilors.
Census: This census is a snapshot on the chosen day when we count how many people and dwellings (houses, flats, apartments) there are.
PIN: A personal identification number (PIN) is a secret shared between a user and a system that can be used to authenticate the user to the system. Typically, the user is required to provide a non-confidential user identifier or token (such as a banking card) and a confidential PIN to gain access to the system. Upon receiving the User ID and PIN, the system looks up the PIN based upon the User ID and compares the looked-up PIN with the received PIN. If they match, then the user is granted access. If they do not match, then the user is not granted access.
Sampling: Information is only obtained from a subset of a population, in comparison with a census that attempts to obtain a 100 percent ‘sample.’
E-Government Strategy: E-government is about using new technology (e.g. computers and the Internet) to improve the way central and local government deliver their services, communicate, consult and work with others. Under this strategy, the Government’s aim is to create a public sector that is structured, resourced and managed to perform in a manner that meets the needs of citizens in the information age and which increasingly delivers information and services using online capabilities.
Enumerator: Also called a “Collector” these people are each assigned to a subdistrict comprising several meshblocks. The process of delivering, collecting and collating the forms is referred to as “enumeration”.
E-Democracy: An interactive facility provided on the local authority Web sites for citizens to register and vote online. It also encompasses the use of ICT and computer-mediated communication, such as the Internet, interactive broadcasting and digital telephony, to enhance political democracy or the participation of citizens (Hacker and van Dijk, 2000, p1).
Global Positioning System: A GPS can be used to check your location. Thus in conjunction with an electronic notebook the position of dwellings can be recorded accurately. This would minimise mapping errors in the census.