Digital census put to the test

Digital census put to the test

It's census night, 2018, and because you're a good, law-abiding citizen, you go to fill out your census form -- but can't find a pen.

Don't panic! It's 2018, so it's not surprising you don't have a pen. But you've probably got a phone or tablet lying around -- just use that!

Statistics New Zealand is aiming for a "digital-first" census where New Zealanders can fill out their forms online.

"We want to make it really easy for people to fill in their forms, so we're testing mobile, desktop, and tablet versions to find out what people prefer," says 2018 census general manager Denise McGregor.

To get there, Statistics NZ is tonight beginning a test-run involving 22,000 households across the country. Kiwis in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury will be trying out the new digital forms and giving feedback over the next few weeks.

"By introducing new ways of collecting information, we'll be able to produce the census counts and other census information faster," says Ms McGregor.

Census data is used to inform planning of infrastructure, funding and policy making.