Citizenship/ residence status

SD Sophie Davies Public Seen by 403

Interest in information on citizenship was identified during consultation for the previous two censuses.
The types of organisations that have expressed a strong interest in this data include central government agencies, community groups, private organisations, and researchers.

However, there are difficulties in measuring citizenship. For example, some people not born in New Zealand have citizenship of right. Others have lived in New Zealand for many decades and have never taken citizenship. A significant population of people are here on other residence provisions.

The argument can be made that the census is not the best way to collect the detail to distinguish between different citizenship, residency, and visa statuses. Multiple questions would be required to meet all information needs, and these would be difficult and overly technical for respondents.

Our current recommendations relating to citizenship/ residence status

  • We recommend that citizenship not be included in the 2018 Census.

See our preliminary view of 2018 Census content (pages 27-28) for a more detailed discussion on citizenship/ residence status information


Henriette(facilitator) Wed 29 Apr 2015 3:36AM

Nau mai haere mai and welcome to the 2018 Census discussion on Citizenship/ residence status.

Please see pgs 27-28 of the Preliminary view of 2018 Census content through the link provided above, for the rationale underpinning Statistics NZ current recommendation on this topic, that citizenship/ residence status not be included in the 2018 Census.

Statistics NZ welcomes your discussion and feedback on this recommendation, to help ensure that the 2018 Census reflects the information needs of our customers.

The online engagement discussion process will run from the 30th April until the 30th June 2015 (note this period has been extended from that flagged initially), with formal submissions open from 18th May to 30th June 2015. Remember that your best opportunity for influencing and helping shape the content of the 2018 Census is to make a formal submission. We look forward to hearing your views.


Alexia Garbutt Fri 1 May 2015 7:06AM

I'm not sure if this section is the right fit but there is a real lack of information in NZ on people who are here as former refugees (citizenship status notwithstanding). This makes it very hard to know how big the communities are in each region and therefore to provide adequate services for them.


Henriette(facilitator) Mon 4 May 2015 4:34AM

Hi @alexiagarbutt - thank you for your post. This topic is probably one to raise under our "other" topic category. As you will know refugee status is assessed in accordance with the Immigration Act 2009, with a person's status as a refugee strictly defined under various conventions and protocols. Therefore as you flag it is a separate concept to citizenship and residence status accepting that some of these people as refugees may go on to acquire such status. Numbers also may not be large enough to be helpful as data outputs at a community level.


Lisa Wed 6 May 2015 10:11AM

How can there be difficulty measuring citizenship?


Ellen Blake Thu 7 May 2015 9:54AM

Not sure about this one. Seems like an interesting question but not sure what I would use it for. More interested perhaps in where people were born.


Henriette(facilitator) Mon 11 May 2015 2:04AM

Welcome @Lisa and @ellenblake and thank you for your posts on this topic.
Previous consultation by Statistics NZ on this topic has indicated that the specific information needs of policy agencies in relation to citizenship/residence status vary considerably. It is thought that it would require multiple questions to meet all these information needs and is currently considered that these would be reasonably difficult and overly technical for respondents to answer in a self-completed questionnaire. An example of the required question complexity is that which was used in the 2006 Kea NZ "census" of expat New Zealanders
Which of these best describes your relationship to NZ? (select one)
- I am a NZ citizen because I was born in NZ
- I am a NZ citizen because I was born out of NZ to parents who were NZ citizens
- I came to NZ as an immigrant, and now I am a naturalized NZ citizen
- I am a Permanent Resident of NZ, but not a citizen
- I was formerly a NZ citizen, but I no longer hold this status
- I was formerly a Permanent Resident of NZ, but I no longer hold this status
- Other

Information on New Zealand citizenship and residency status is currently collected administratively by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and the NZ Immigration Service when issuing NZ passports or residency permits. DIA also collects the number of people gaining citizenship by region of birth through administrative data however the number of NZ citizens by descent (ie: children born overseas to a NZ-born NZ citizen) who have not registered their citizenship cannot presently be counted, with ethnic identifications or national affiliations of these individuals and their families unknown.
Therefore although some information is available, difficulties in measuring citizenship arise (see other examples on pgs 27 -28 of the preliminary view of 2018 Census content and it can therefore be argued that census is perhaps not the best way to collect the details to distinguish between different citizenship, residency and visa statuses.
Acquisition of legal citizenship may also be relevant to understanding national identity, social cohesion and civic participation with the social connectedness of migrants and the tracking of differing outcomes for different migrant groups among the policy interests in this area. The NZ General Social Survey will collect information on these topics among others in its supplement in 2016 on Civic and Cultural Participation. Analysis of migrant outcomes is possible in this survey through data collected on generational attachment where information about the generational length of residence a person’s family has been in New Zealand is deduced by finding out whether the person /people who raised the respondent were born in New Zealand or not, and whether the respondent was born in New Zealand or not. From this a measure of the number of generations in New Zealand associated with the respondent is derived and their migrant status if applicable - eg: first generation, second generation or third generation.

As always however we are interested in hearing about people's views and information needs with regard to data on citizenship and residency status and would be pleased to read people's thoughts on this matter.


Alexia Garbutt Tue 9 Jun 2015 4:51AM

Thanks for your answer Henriette


David Schaaf Fri 12 Jun 2015 4:22AM

It would be interesting to find out how many NZ Citizens/Permanent Resident who resides in NZ and own their own homes? I would vote for a retention of the question.


Henriette(facilitator) Sun 14 Jun 2015 9:34PM

Hi @DavidSchaaf and thank you for your comments. At present questions about citizenship and residency status are not included in the Census content - see my post above for some of the rationale as to why. What would people's thoughts be on the nature of the questions required to determine citizenship/residency status (see above for some examples), their potential complexity and people's general ability to answer these in a self completed form?


David Schaaf Thu 18 Jun 2015 4:05AM

Thanks Henriette. I still think it would be great to include this question in the future census. I have read p27 to 28 of the document and have seen the different categories you have provided of what might be asked. I think it would be a lost opportunity. You have used the Cook Islands as an example but they are a minority and could fit into any of the categories you have put forward. The bigger policy question which I think a question on Citizenship would provide some answer on is, how many people in the categories you have described above cross tabulated with the housing tenure given the Auckland housing situation.


Henriette(facilitator) Sun 21 Jun 2015 9:26PM

Thanks @davidschaaf for your further thoughts - I would encourage you to make a formal submission. Note that the 2018 Census Content determination framework to be found in the Appendix on Pg 65 of the Preliminary view of 2018 Census content outlines the criteria that is used to determine the 2018 Census content and that submissions are assessed against these criteria.

Further to this a reminder to others interested in the discussion thread on citizenship/residence status that the online engagement process will finish in conjunction with the closing date for formal submissions on 30th June 2015. Please note that your best opportunity for influencing and helping shape the content of the 2018 Census is to make a formal submission. Statistics NZ welcomes feedback on their current recommendation that citizenship/residence status not be included in the 2018 Census.