Singing the praises of statistics

A love of numbers: Census and Statistics Department staff hard at work in 1946 (click for image credit)

The joy of numbers: Census and Statistics Department staff hard at work in 1946 (click for image credit)

Let me confess, I love working with statistics. I have gone so far as to like the Statistics New Zealand and New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings pages on Facebook. Social media at its best!

Te Ara is littered with stats so I get to indulge my fascination fairly regularly. We have stats on the most popular sports by gender, temperature variations and cannabis use. Themes on the places of New Zealandethnic groupsiwi and economy are full of numbers.

This superabundance of stats makes for a lot of work – they need updating unless their significance is historic. We’ve been able to turn our attention to such updates now that the first build of Te Ara is complete. So far we have updated the New Zealand Peoples and Iwi entries in line with 2013 census results, and we have begun work on census updates for the Places entries.

These jobs are huge but made so much easier by Statistics New Zealand’s excellent main website and its data hub NZ.Stat. Unlike the websites of some other national statistics offices, both of these are pretty intuitive and straightforward to use. If I can’t find what I want, an email or phone call to the helpdesk invariably yields a quick answer. So thanks Stats NZ, you are great.

Stay tuned for more new numbers on Te Ara later this year.

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