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Definition

Years at usual residence is the length of time up to the date of the data collection, expressed in completed years (including short-term absences, but excluding long-term absences), that a respondent has lived at their usual residence.

Usual residence, short-term absence, long-term absence and completed years are supporting concepts and are defined in the Glossary.

Operational issues

Respondents who have lived at their usual residence for a large number of years may have trouble recalling the number of years they have lived at their usual residence. Respondents may therefore over-estimate or under-estimate the number of years that they have spent at their usual residence.

Respondents also tend to round the actual number of years that they have lived at their usual residence to the nearest multiple of five or ten years. This has been demonstrated in past Censuses of Population and Dwellings where usual residence data is characterised by ‘heaping’ at the multiples of five and ten years.

Respondents may include long-term absences or exclude short–term absences from the count of number of years at usual residence, thus compromising data quality.

Explanatory notes

Alternative names

In the past, the term 'years at usual residence' has been used interchangeably with 'years at usual address', 'years at usual residential address', 'years spent at usual address', 'years lived at usual address', 'years lived at usual residence', 'years lived at usual residential address', and 'duration of residence at present address'. The use of only one term is essential for the standardisation process in order to avoid confusion. The term 'years at usual residence' is preferred as it is consistent with the terms 'usual residence' and 'usual residence n years ago'.

In the past the term temporary absence has been used to refer to a period of absence of less than 12 months. However, a temporary absence could be interpreted as any absence (whether less than 12 months or 12 months or more). The term short-term absence is preferred, as its meaning is clearer.

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