Disabled people fare worse in their home, economic, and social lives

About the data

Data was sourced from the 2018 Census, the 2018 general social survey, and the household labour force survey (June 2018 quarter).

About the Washington Group Short Set of questions on functioning

  • Disability status was identified using the Washington Group Short Set of questions on functioning. Disabled people were those who had at least a lot of difficulty in one or more of six specified activities: seeing (even with glasses), hearing (even with hearing aids), walking or climbing stairs, remembering or concentrating, self-care, and communicating.
  • These six basic activities are those that are most often found to limit an individual’s participation in everyday life.
  • This set of questions was not designed to produce disability counts or prevalence rates, but to compare and monitor outcomes for the disabled and non-disabled populations.

More on disability data

  • Twenty-four percent of the New Zealand population, 1.1 million people, were identified as disabled in the 2013 NZ Disability Survey. The next disability survey will be carried out in 2023.
  • Disability and age are strongly related, with disabled people being older, on average, than non-disabled people. This needs to be taken into account when comparing outcomes for these two groups.

About the 2018 Census dataset

We combined data from the census forms with administrative data to create the 2018 Census dataset, which meets Stats NZ’s quality criteria for population structure information.

We added real data about real people to the dataset where we were confident the people should be counted but hadn’t completed a census form. We also used data from the 2013 Census and administrative sources and statistical imputation methods to fill in some missing characteristics of people and dwellings.

Data quality for 2018 Census provides more information on the quality of the 2018 Census data. An independent panel of experts has assessed the quality of the 2018 Census dataset. The panel has endorsed Stats NZ’s overall methods and concluded that the use of government administrative records has improved the coverage of key variables such as age, sex, ethnicity, and place. The panel’s Initial Report of the 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel (September 2019) assessed the methodologies used by Stats NZ to produce the final dataset, as well as the quality of some of the key variables. Its second report 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel: Assessment of variables (December 2019) assessed an additional 31 variables.

In its third report, Final report of the 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel (February 2020), the panel made 24 recommendations, several relating to preparations for the 2023 Census. Along with this report, the panel, supported by Stats NZ, produced a series of graphs summarising the sources of data for key 2018 Census individual variables, 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel: Data sources for key 2018 Census individual variables.

The Quick guide to the 2018 Census (updated 16 September 2019) outlines the key changes we introduced as we prepared for the 2018 Census and the changes we made once collection was complete.

The geographic boundaries are as at 1 January 2018. See Statistical standard for geographic areas 2018.

Technical enquiries

Chelsea Dickson

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