Data on religious affiliation has various uses. It is used to trace the changes in values and belief systems in New Zealand society and to assess the need for various types of religion-related or religion-sponsored services. Māori, Pacific peoples, and other ethnic groups also use the data as this information is an important aspect of their culture.
However, religious affiliation is frequently identified as a variable of decreasing relevance, most recently in consultations with key census users for the 2013 Census.
There are several reasons why people question the ongoing relevance and inclusion of religious affiliation in the New Zealand Census. Firstly, census data on religious affiliation is not widely used by government agencies or deemed highly important for policy development, evaluation, or monitoring. Secondly, New Zealand is becoming increasingly secular, with just under half of the population either stating they have no religion or that they object to answering the question.
However there is a continuing demand for this data from religious organisations, academic researchers, Māori and Pacific communities, and the media. Without census data on religion, any changes in this significant cultural area would be difficult to monitor.
Our current recommendations relating to religious affiliation
- We recommend that religious affiliation be included with no changes in the 2018 Census.
See our preliminary view of 2018 Census content (pages 25-26) for a more detailed discussion on religious affiliation information
See 2013 Census information by variable for information on the religious affiliation variable
Poll Created Tue 2 Jun 2015 10:46PM
Information on religious affiliation is needed at a neighbourhood level. Closed Fri 5 Jun 2015 8:07AM
There’s been agreement that religious affiliation needs to be measured, but how important is it that religious affiliation is measured at neighbourhood level?
|Results||Option||% of points||Voters|
4 of 9 people have voted (44%)
Robert Didham (topic expert)
Tue 2 Jun 2015 11:04PM
The power of census is in coverage and change over time. NZ is a highly diverse country both demographically and geographically. Both dimensions are important in understanding society.
Wed 3 Jun 2015 11:40AM
It's very important that belief affiliation is measured at neighbourhood level for reasons macro to micro. It's valid to continue Census enquiry about individual and confidential information such as this. Allow and list all legible answers.
Wed 3 Jun 2015 12:25PM
Local authorities may be more sympathetic to requests for respectful use of public facilities if they understood local value placed on them by particular groups. For example use of a small reserve in Wellington by a pagan group for gatherings.