Analysis of Tokelau's 18 October 2016 Census now completed

Tokelau National Statistics Office, Apia, 2 May 2017

All data from the 2016 Tokelau Census, held on 18 October, have now been analysed and the final reports are available from the Tokelau government's website.

The five-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings is a very important item on Tokelau’s agenda. Its results provide the most authoritative data on how many people we have, what the composition of their households is, what education level they have, how they contribute to Tokelau’s economy, and so on.

As a non-self- governing territory, Tokelau has a special constitutional relationship with New Zealand. This special relationship is strengthened by connections between the tiny Tokelau National Statistics Office (TNSO) and Statistics NZ. It is the latter organisation that has been largely responsible for the excellent Tokelau Censuses in 2006, 2011, and again in 2016.

Despite its small number of about 1,500, measuring Tokelau’s population is quite complicated. Not only do Tokelauans move around a lot between the three atolls Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu; they also often travel to Samoa and New Zealand, and further afield. In addition, the Tokelau National Public Service is mainly based in Apia. Special rules were designed in 2006 to ensure that all eligible Tokelauans are included in each census.

With the publication of Profile of Tokelau: 2016 Tokelau Census of Population and Dwellings, we now have a very reliable time series over an entire decade with a wealth of data that are fully comparable (which is not always the case with 5-yearly censuses that were conducted prior to 2006). 

In addition to objective data (‘things you can count’), this report includes a number of subjective measures (‘how you feel about things’), especially around the topic of ‘quality of life’. This is a ‘first’ for the Tokelau census. Tokelauans generally consider themselves mostly very ‘happy and healthy’, as the reader will see.

The current census is notable for another reason: it is our first one (indeed in the entire Pacific region) to have been conducted using tablet computers rather than paper-based questionnaires. Assistance from the Pacific Community (SPC) is gratefully acknowledged. Not only did tablets facilitate data entry and validation, data analysis was considerably faster. It is with some pride that we completed the final 2016 Census report within six months of census day.

Profile of Tokelau: 2016 Tokelau Census of Population and Dwellings. (pdf, 95 pages, 2.4MB)

The complete report can also be downloaded from the internet at tinyurl.com/TokelauCensus where profiles of individual atolls, and further data tables, can also be found.

For further information please contact:
Dr Jaap (“iapi”) Jasperse,
Statistics Adviser,
Tokelau National Statistics Office, Apia, Samoa.
Email iapi.jasperse@tokelau.org.nz, tel +685-7294913.