Number of children born alive
We are considering including number of children born alive in the census on a cyclic basis, as the data typically shows less change over time than other census data. It is normally asked every second census.
While birth registrations (administrative data) are the key source of information on fertility, census information on the number of children born alive helps us understand changes in family size and patterns and timing of childbearing. It is our only source of data on childlessness and overseas births to women now living in New Zealand. It permits detailed socio-economic and socio-cultural studies of fertility.
Census data indicates childbearing and childlessness patterns are changing, but in a relatively consistent direction since 1996. Given the constant direction of change since 1996, the need for inclusion in 2018 is questionable.
We also need to consider the sensitivity of this information. This may be contributing to the relatively high non-response rate for this question.
Our current recommendations relating to number of children born alive
- Further evidence would need to be supplied by experts to support including ‘number of children born alive’ in the 2018 Census.
See our preliminary view of 2018 Census content (page 16) for a more detailed discussion on number of children born alive information.
See 2013 Census information by variable for information on the number of children born alive variable.