Ethnicity technical support papers
These technical support papers have been written to support users in collection and output of ethnicity data. The following key words will assist in any search for references: intermarriage, Māori, randomisation, multiple responses.
The Statistical Standard for Ethnicity was developed to ensure that ethnicity is collected consistently for all surveys and administrative collections. Data from a large number of collections is combined with other sources, such as the population census, to produce official measures in a range of areas such as education, health, employment and unemployment, income, housing and crime. Unless consistent ethnicity data is available, valid and reliable measures cannot be produced. Lack of consistency across different collections means data may not be comparable.
For all of these considerations the Statistical Standard for Ethnicity 2005 encourages the use of a standardised concept, definition, collection, coding method, and output, as given in this standard, to promote data consistency and comparability in all official statistics.
The downloadable files below are in Adobe Acrobat format. If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader you may download the reader to view or print the contents of these files.
If you do not have access to Excel 97 or higher you may use the Excel file viewer to view, print and export the contents of the following file.
Review of the Official Ethnicity Statistical Standard 2009
Final Report of the Review of the Official Ethnicity Statistical Standard 2009 (65 pages, PDF, 517kb)
This report presents Statistics New Zealand's preliminary views of some issues relating to the 'New Zealander' response and some proposed actions to address them. In preparing this report, we have consulted with a range of stakeholders, reviewed relevant New Zealand and international literature and undertaken a programme of research. Input was sought from a wide range of stakeholders. A draft report of this review was published in April 2009.
The findings of this report will be used to improve ethnicity statistics across the Official Statistics System, starting with the 2011 Census of Population and Dwellings.
Guidelines for use of the non-Māori group in ethnic statistics
Guidelines for use of the non-Māori group in ethnic statistics (3 pages, PDF, 175kb)
Comparisons of Māori are often made with the total population and sometimes with the non-Māori population. These comparisons raise several inter-related questions:
- Is one comparison better than the other?
- Is non-Māori a statistically valid population group?
- When is it appropriate to use non-Māori statistics, and when is it inappropriate?
- Is it statistically valid to present Māori statistics solely in relation to statistics of the total population?
This paper provides good practice guidelines for users of ethnicity data in terms of using the non-Māori group. The guidelines apply equally to use of other residual ethnic population groups such as non-Pacific, non-Asian and non-European.
The Differences Within, Diversity in Age Structure Between and Within Ethnic Groups
The Differences Within, Diversity in Age Structure Between and Within Ethnic Groups (PDF, 332kb)
The Differences Within, Diversity in Age Structure Between and Within Ethnic Groups is a guide to some of the issues that researchers face when dealing with ethnic data. Ethnicity is a variable that is used frequently to look at diversity of outcomes within a population, often as a proxy for disadvantage. It is however, a very complex variable, with profound diversity below the highest level ethnic categories. By taking one single variable, in this case age, and examining how it differs underneath the highest level of the ethnic classification (European, Māori, Pacific peoples, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African (MELAA) and Other Ethnicity) and in responses to other factors such as birthplace, we are able to understand some of this diversity.
This paper is largely based on information from the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings, as the census is the chief data collection that allows us to make meaningful exploration of a full range of ethnic categories. Information in this paper is useful for anyone working with ethnic data, such as medical or social researchers and aims to raise awareness of the dangers of making broad assumptions about ethnic groups. Care should be particularly applied to the Asian and MELAA groups as the data revealed in this paper shows that there is huge diversity beneath the highest level of the ethnic classifications. This report was written by Rosemary Goodyear.
Guidelines for Using Ethnicity Data: 2006 Census
Guidelines for Using Ethnicity Data: 2006 Census (PDF, 270kb)
This paper provides good practice guidelines for users of ethnicity data from the 2006 Census following implementation of the 2005 ethnicity standard.
Census 2006 used the 2005 ethnicity statistical standard which enables, among other things, the separate classification of New Zealander responses.
Profile of New Zealander Responses, Ethnicity Question: 2006 Census
Profile of New Zealander Responses, Ethnicity Question: 2006 Census (PDF, 309kb)
This report provides a socio-demographic profile of those persons who responded as 'New Zealander' to the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings ethnicity question.
The profile goes some way to answering the question of who made these responses, by highlighting similarities and differences with the total population and other ethnic groupings and it aims to provide an understanding of those responding as New Zealander.
Ethnic Self-prioritisation of Dual and Multi-ethnic Youth in New Zealand
Ethnic Self-prioritisation of Dual and Multi-ethnic Youth in New Zealand (PDF, 357kb)
A discussion paper which explores data from the longitudinal Youth Connectedness survey. The primary interest was to determine whether those who recorded more than ethnic group could self-prioritise a main ethnic group when asked to do so.
Impact of Priorisation on the Interpretation on Ethnicity Data
Impact of Prioritisation on the Interpretation on Ethnicity Data (PDF, 132kb)
Prioritisation is a classification which assigns the ethnicity of a person who has given multiple responses to just one ethnicity.
Ethnic intermarriage in New Zealand
Ethnic intermarriage in New Zealand (PDF, 257kb)
This paper provides some practical examples of the presentation of multiple response data. It is hoped these examples will stimulate further analysis that acknowledges the complexity of ethnicity.
Ethnic intermarriage and ethnic transference amongst Māori
Ethnic intermarriage and ethnic transference amongst Māori (PDF, 771kb)
The people of New Zealand have a long tradition of ethnic intermarriage and as participants in this trend Māori have a unique population that has undergone enormous demographic and social change. Māori have and continue to experience high rates of intermarriage, this along with adaptation to other social phenomenon has caused the measurement of ethnic identity to grow increasingly complex.
The Māori ethnic group consists of many individuals from varying backgrounds who have varying cultural values, norms and identities but nevertheless at some degree choose to identify as being Māori. There has been widespread public interest and growing political debate surrounding the questions “Who is Māori?” and “How do we accurately define Māori?”.
Ethnicity randomisation (PDF, 258kb)
'Randomisation code for reducing multiple responses' is a technical paper that has been developed for software developers by the Census Evaluations team from Statistics New Zealand.
Understanding and working with ethnicity data paper
Understanding and working with ethnicity data paper (PDF, 332kb)
This technical paper provides support to users of ethnicity data. It addresses issues arising from the Review of the Measurement of Ethnicity and advises on best practices. This paper was prepared by Robert Didham with assistance from Deb Potter and Jo-anne Allan. Among the topics covered are: ethnic mobility, contextual effects and the dynamics of ethnicity; sources of data; collection issues including consistency, and reduction of multiple responses; comparing collections; output choices, time series analysis, and data integration.
When individual responses exceed input storage - A procedure for unbiased reduction
When individual responses exceed input storage - a procedure for unbiased reduction (PDF, 201kb)
This methodology paper is a technical paper for the development of software systems that support the inputting of large numbers of responses in surveys and administrative data sets. This paper was written by Jo-anne Allan and Robert Didham. It outlines the treatment of responses where the number of ethnic groups given by an individual exceeds the number being output. Scenarios are described for reducing the number of multiple responses to six per individual, and to three responses, and examples are given of each.
Growing Ethnic Diversity in New Zealand and its Implications for Measuring Differentials in Fertility and Mortality
Growing ethnic diversity in New Zealand and its implications for measuring differentials in fertility and mortality (PDF, 429kb)
This paper, written by Bill Boddington, Mansoor Khawaja and Robert Didham in 2000, is a revised and expanded version based on a paper read at the Australian Population Association Conference held in Adelaide in 1998 and, in a revised form at the PANZ Conference in Hamilton in 1999. The paper reflects upon growing ethnic diversity in New Zealand and discusses various issues relating to measuring ethnicity in statistical collections. An historical overview provides a context within which to explain the collection of data on race, ethnic origin and ethnicity, as these concepts have changed over time. The key shift over time has been the move from using the biological concept of race or ethnic origin to using the socio-cultural affiliation concept as the basis of ethnicity. The paper focuses on census and vital statistics data and considers some of the implications of changes to, and incompatability between, questions in various collections, as well as the impact of these issues on derived fertility and mortality measures. The paper has been widely cited both within New Zealand and internationally as an unpublished paper. It is included here in its original form to make the paper more easily accessible to a wider audience. It should be read in the context of ethnicity debates at the turn of the century.
As a supporting paper to the Statistical Standard for Ethnicity 2005 it needs to be read in conjunction with the Standard and Understanding and Working with Ethnicity Data (2005).
Infant Deaths: Demographic Characteristics, Ethnic Reporting, 2005 (PDF, 390kb)
Report of the Review of the Measurement of Ethnicity June 2004 (PDF, 3498kb)
Measuring ethnicity in the New Zealand Population Census February 2002 (PDF, 140kb)
For an overview see Change in ethnicity question
A question of ethnicity — one word, different people, many perceptions: The perspectives of groups other than Māori, Pacific peoples, and New Zealand Europeans November 2001 (PDF, 140kb)
View the Executive summary
Ethnicity Matters: Māori Perspectives September 2001 (PDF, 503kb)
Ethnicity Matters: Māori Perspectives September 2001 in Māori (PDF, 1159kb)
View the Executive summary
International Concepts and Classifications September 2001 (PDF, 438kb)
The definition and measurement of ethnicity: A Pacific perspective October 2001 (PDF, 1541kb)
Classification and Issues September 2001
Classification and Issues September 2001 Reference tables (Excel, 103kb)
Policy Perspectives paper July 2001 (PDF, 139kb)
Comparison of the measurement of ethnicity in Australia and New Zealand July 2001 (PDF, 243kb)
Background paper February 2001 (PDF, 105kb)
Newsletter vol 4 (PDF, 177kb)
Newsletter vol 3 (PDF, 209kb)
Newsletter vol 2 (PDF, 199kb)
Newsletter vol 1 (PDF, 463kb)