Oamaru on-line census trial worked

Several trends have emerged following analysis of the 2013 Census online option, Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says.

Close to two million census forms, or 34 per cent of all forms, were done online, with the response rate peaking at 130,000 forms per hour on census night.

“The average time taken to complete an individual form was 10 minutes and eight minutes for the dwelling form.

“The Auckland and Wellington regions had the highest proportion of individual forms done online.  It was also interesting to note the online option was most popular for people who were born overseas, of Asian ethnicity and aged in their thirties,” Mr Williamson says.

Another feature of the 2013 Census was a trial in Oamaru that saw everyone receive internet access codes via mail, with paper forms only delivered on request.

“About 65 per cent of people completed forms online, which was nearly double the national rate.  It shows an online delivery and collection method for census can work in New Zealand.

“It also gives Statistics New Zealand a strong base to explore online options for other surveys,” Mr Williamson says.

As more people have reliable internet connections, on-line options should become more popular.

It will be considerably less expensive for Statistics NZ.

However, it might require an opt-in for paper as was used in Oamaru to prompt those less confident, or more reluctant, about using the internet to take the on-line option.

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