Can We Have the Population Statistics We Need Without a Regular Census?

Time to engage with statisticians


  • Len Cook



census, migration, longevity, investment, trust


As the New Zealand government is progressing plans for substituting the census as we know it for information held in state agency records, the huge gap between what we need population statistics for, and the scope and quality of existing statistics stays under the radar. The scale and volatility of migration, the impact of increased longevity and the different demographic dynamics of fast-growing ethnic communities must be continually measured in ways we can trust. Confidence that the statistical qualities of the census would be replicated requires transparency, validation and independent peer review if trust is to be maintained.


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Author Biography

Len Cook

Len Cook has served as New Zealand’s government statistician and as the United Kingdom’s national statistician. He has a long, continuing interest in population policy and public administration.