Definitions of key terms used throughout our facts, stats and figures.

Accidential or unintentional injuries Unintentional is used to refer to injuries that were unplanned. Unintentional injuries can be defined as events in which:
The injury occurs in a short period of time - seconds or minutes,
  • The harmful outcome was not sought, or
  • The outcome was the result of one of the forms of physical energy in the environment or normal body functions being blocked by external means, e.g., drowning.
The most common unintentional injuries result from motor vehicle crashes, falls, fires and burns, drowning, poisonings and aspirations
Accommodation unit (Stay unit)

Unit of accommodation that is available to be charged out to guests (such as a room in a hotel or motel, a bed in a backpacker establishment, or a site in a caravan park). More information about the Accommodation Survey from Statistics New Zealand(external link).

Active modes of transport

Journeys made by physically active means, such as cycling, walking, jogging and scootering.

Age-Sex structure

A younger population typically has a higher proportion of younger people (the base of the pyramid) and a progressively smaller proportion of older people (the peak of the pyramid).

An ageing population is typically represented by more of a rectangle shape, which has a bulge in the middle of the pyramid and a high proportion of older people at the top.


Airbnb is short for air bed and breakfast. It is facilitated via the Airbnb website, which connects people (usually travellers) looking for accommodation with hosts advertising available accommodation (either within their own homes, or entire homes/apartments that they manage). More information from Airbnb(external link).

ANZSIC industrial classifications

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 is used to compile and analyse industry statistics in New Zealand and Australia. 

ANZSIC06 has a structure comprising categories at four levels, namely divisions (the broadest level), subdivisions, groups, and classes. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).

Area unit

Non-administrative geographic areas created by Statistics New Zealand and roughly relate to suburbs. In Christchurch City there are 129 area units. View map(external link).

Average household size

The mean number of people per household. It is calculated by dividing the number of people in households by the number of households. 

Avon Heathcote Estuary /Ihutai Water Quality Index In 2014 ECAN started using an index to rate water quality sites from Very Poor to Very Good based on the Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment(CCME) water quality index.  More information about this index can be found on page 4 of the Healthy Estuary and Rivers of Christchurch - Water quality of the Estuary of the Heathcote and Avon  Rivers / Ihutai report 2016.(external link)
Brownfield site Area of previously developed land that is generally vacant or derelict. They are often former commercial or industrial sites which may or may not be contaminated.
Building consents

May be for detached, semi-detached or attached dwellings and units. The majority of building consents that are issued are completed, however there is a small proportion of consents that are issued but not constructed.

Business birth

Birth: occurs when a new enterprise starts operation (ie a combination of production factors is created, and no other national businesses are involved). Births do not include entries into the population due to reactivations, mergers, break-ups, split-offs, or other restructuring of a group of businesses linked by ownership or control. More information from Statistics New Zealand.(external link)

Business turnover

This indicator is considered a reliable measure of business activity. Business turnover is defined as the sum of business start-ups and closures. Business start-ups as a share of business turnover is used as a proxy measure for gauging the level of entrepreneurial activity in the economy.

CCC General Service Satisfaction survey (Residents survey)

For general activities that most or all residents in the city use, such as water supply, waste collection and road surfaces, a representative random sample of all city residents over the age of 15 is used to measure resident satisfaction.

Central city or Four Avenues

Incorporates the three area units (Cathedral Square, Hagley Park and Avon Loop) bounded by Deans Avenue, Harper/Bealey Avenues, Fitzgerald Avenue and Moorhouse Avenue.

Child : Older Person ratio

A measure of the composition of the portion of the population that is made up of ‘dependents’: those who are typically too young and those who are typically too old to work.

This is expressed as the number of children aged 0-14 years, divided by the number of those aged 65 years and over. A decreasing Child : Older Persons ratio illustrates a shift in type of dependents, from more children to more older people.

Christchurch Visitor Experience survey

This survey is run annually by ChristchurchNZ to better understand visitor experience in Christchurch, including what activities visitors do and their satisfaction with aspects of the city's tourism.

Visitors are approached during the peak summer period and given the option to complete a 10 minute survey immediately (on an ipad), or be sent an invitation by email to complete an online version later. Field staff were located at key visitor sites including the i-SITE visitor information centre, the airport, Cashel Mall, and Cathedral Square. More information from ChristchurchNZ(external link).

ChristchurchNZ RTO (Regional Tourism Organisation)

ChristchurchNZ is the city’s economic development and city profile agency, and is the Regional Tourism Organisation for the Canterbury Region (includes Christchurch City, Selwyn, Waimakariri, Ashburton and Hurunui Districts).

ChristchurchNZ is responsible for promoting Christchurch and Canterbury as a tourism destination to media, travel trade, conventions and directly to visitors. More information from ChristchurchNZ(external link).

Commercial floorspace

New floorspace is extracted from commercial building consents issued for new buildings and additions to existing buildings. The majority of building consents that are issued are completed, however there is a small proportion of consents that are not completed.

It is assumed the general floorspace trends shown in this measure are not significantly affected by these uncompleted consents. This data is based on floorspace estimations and development plans registered with Christchurch City Council building consent applications; the planned floorspace may differ to the 'as built' figures.

Commercial property investor confidence

Colliers’ quarterly confidence survey asks commercial property market participants about their views on the outlook for commercial property investment over the next 12 months.

Overall net confidence is calculated (percent of optimists minus pessimests). More information from Colliers.(external link)

Cordon (central city)

Following the February 2011 earthquake, the central city was placed under an army and police cordon due to unsafe buildings and public spaces, and ongoing earthquake activity. It initially covered 387 hectares.

It gradually reduced in size as streets became safe for the public to access, and was finally lifted in June 2013.

Couple with Child(ren) family type

A couple with child(ren), all of whom have usual residence together in the same household. The children do not have a partner or child(ren) of their own living in the household. More information from Statistics New Zealand.(external link)

Couple without Children family type

A couple without child(ren), with or without other people, usually living together in a household. More information from Statistics New Zealand.(external link)

Dependency ratio

A measure of the balance between dependents (those who are typically too young or too old to work) and those of working age in the city's population.

The ratio is expressed as the combined number of people aged 0 to 14 years and people aged 65 years and over (‘non-working age’ population), divided by those aged 15 to 64 years (the ‘working age’ population).

A rising dependency ratio illustrates an increasing imbalance in the size of the non-working population dependents) versus the working population, and gives an indication of the burden on those of working age to provide for those who are typically not of working age (although people are increasingly working into older ages). 


The New Zealand Deprivation Index reflects aspects of social and material deprivation, based on a combination of the following census data: income, employment, qualifications, owned home, support, living space, transport and communication.

The scale reflects a continuum from 'least deprivation' (decile 1) to 'most deprivation' (decile 10). More information from the University of Otago(external link).

Dwelling units Refers to new dwellings that have been consented for, generally intended for one household. The consent may be classified as for a separate dwelling or for an attached unit (e.g. apartment, terraced housing, joined townhouse etc.).
Employed population Refers to the population aged 15 years and over, and includes full-time and part-time employed. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).
Estimated resident population

The estimated resident population of an area in New Zealand at a given date after census night.

It is derived by updating the census usually resident population count for: estimated net census undercount; the estimated number of residents temporarily overseas on census night; natural increase (births less deaths) between census night and the given date; net migration (arrivals less departures) between census night and the given date. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).


Ethnicity is the ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to. Ethnicity is a measure of cultural affiliation, as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality or citizenship. Ethnicity is self-perceived and people can belong to more than one ethnic group. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).

'European or Other' ethnic group

For the purposes of ethnic population projections, Statistics New Zealand group those people who belong to the 'European' or 'Other (including New Zealander)' ethnic groups defined in Level One of the ethnicity classification.

If a person belongs to both the 'European' and 'Other' ethnic groups, they have only been counted once. Almost all people in the 'Other' ethnicity group belong to the 'New Zealander' subgroup. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).


A household containing two or more people usually living together, with at least one couple and/or parent-child relationship, with or without other people.

Couple-without-children families include (a) couples who will never have children, (b) couples who will have children in the future, and (c) couples whose children have left the parental home.


New business floorspace refers to building consents issued for new buildings and additions to existing buildings, within specified business zones.

New Zealand General Social survey (Well-being statistics)

The New Zealand General Social Survey(external link) (NZGSS) provides information on the well-being of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over. It covers a wide range of social and economic outcomes and shows how people are faring.

In particular the survey provides a view of how well-being outcomes are distributed across different groups within the New Zealand population. The survey contributes to Well-being statistics.

Global Financial Crisis (GFC)

The financial crisis of 2007–2008, also known as the global financial crisis and the 2008 financial crisis, is considered by many economists to have been the worst financial crisis(external link) since the Great Depression(external link) of the 1930s. More information.(external link)

Greater Christchurch

Refers to the urban area of Christchurch City and Lyttelton Harbour, as well as the 'commuter belt' communities in Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts. More information from the Greater Christchurch Partnership(external link)

Greenfield area or site

Area of previously undeveloped land used for agriculture, landscape design, or left vacant, which has been identified as being suitable for development. Generally located on the outskirts of an urban area.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

New Zealand's official measure of economic activity and growth. It is the measure of the value added from all economic activity in New Zealand. The figures below are expressed in nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation).

It is an important tool that helps a range of data users, including policy makers, understand and manage the New Zealand economy. Regional gross domestic product (GDP) is a geographic breakdown of national-level GDP. More information about Gross Domestic Product from Statistics New Zealand(external link).

Ground Floor Activity survey

The purpose of this survey is to measure nature of the pedestrian environment in the central city commercial areas. This provides a view of how the pedestrian environment is changing and where different activities are located, and how these have changed over time.

The survey has been going since 2001, with a break between 2011 and 2015 as a result of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in 2010 and 2011.

Guest night

Equivalent to one guest spending one night at an establishment. For example, a motel with 15 guests spending two nights would report provision of 30 guest nights of accommodation. More information about the Accommodation Survey from Statistics New Zealand(external link).


A household can be a person living alone, one or more families, or related/unrelated individuals, all sharing the same usual residence and sharing facilities (for example, eating facilities, cooking facilities, bathroom and toilet facilities, a living area), in a private dwelling.

Household crowding

There is no standard measure of crowding used internationally, but in New Zealand the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) is often used as a de-facto standard. 

A household is said to be crowded if the dwelling requires extra bedrooms according to criteria which relates to the relationship of occupants to one another, and the age and sex of any children within the household. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).

Household energy costs

The Household Economic Survey categorises energy costs as including electricity, gas (reticulated and bottled), solid fuels (coal and firewood), liquid and domestic fuels (oil and kerosene), as well as service provider costs (bonds, connections, service fees etc).

Household emergency plan  A household emergency plan is an agreed plan that enables a household to look after household members for at least 3 day or more.  More information on the get thru website(external link)
Household expenditure

The Household Economic Survey runs every three years and respondents are asked to record everything the household spent money on in the previous two weeks.

Total net expenditure refers to net of refunds, sales, and trade-ins. All group and subgroup level expenditure is reported as gross expenditure.

Category expenditure is defined using the New Zealand Household Expenditure Classification (NZHEC). All expenditure at group, subgroup and class level is reported as gross expenditure. All expenditure includes GST. More information from Statistics New Zealand.(external link)

Household income inequality

Household Income Inequality as measured by the ratio of the income in the second highest decile (P80) to the income in the second lowest decile (P20).

The P80:P20 ratio gives a reasonable indication of the degree of dispersion for the range within which the majority (60%) of the population fall and has less volatility than the P90/P10 ratio. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).

Household private transport supplies and services costs

The Household Economic Survey categorises energy costs as including vehicle parts and accessories, petrol, other fuels/lubricants, servicing and repairs, and other private transport services (e.g. registration and licensing, WOF, road user charges, parking fees, toll charges, drivers license fees etc).


Total personal income received is the before-tax income of a person aged 15 years or over in the 12 months ended 31 March 2013. The information is collected as income bands rather than in actual dollars.

Total personal income can be combined with other income information from the same family or household to provide a range of measures (e.g. total household income). More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link).

Infill site Infill sites are located in existing residentially developed areas and may include sites where the existing building is demolished and replaced with more than one unit, or the existing site is subdivided or cross leased.

The consumer's price index (CPI) provides information about changes to the prices of consumer items New Zealand households buy, and provides the most commonly used and recognised measure of inflation in New Zealand. More information from Statistics New Zealand(external link) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand's 'Inflation Calculator'(external link).

(external link)Inflation adjusted income

The data is adjusted to reflect incomes as they would have been in June 2006, to remove the effects of inflation and allow for comparisons over time. Income applies to the population aged 15 years and over.

Languages spoken

Language(s) in which respondent could have a conversation about a lot of everyday things.

Life expectancy

A summary measure of the death and survival rates of the population. The average length of life of a newborn baby, assuming they experience the age-specific mortality rates of that year throughout their life.

Life in Christchurch survey

Life in Christchurch is an annual survey series that asks residents for feedback on a variety of key aspects related to life in Christchurch. Topics include transport, the central city, natural environment, and neighbourhood and communities.

It is a web based survey, which uses a 'snowball' method to reach respondents, using a word-of-mouth approach. This has the advantage of reaching specific groups and those who may not usually provide feedback to the Council. It is not necessarily representative of the wider community, however feedback is provided by thousands of willing residents. More information about Life in Christchurch.

Longitudinal Business Frame

The Business Frame has been designed by Statistics New Zealand(extern