Santa will be busier than ever delivering presents to New Zealand children on Christmas Eve this year, according to the
2018 Census, Stats NZ said today.
There were 617,556 children aged under 10 years in the 2018 Census, an increase of 11 percent since the 2001 Census.
To ensure he makes it to every house around the world before Christmas morning, Santa's reindeer need to pull his sleigh
at an average speed of approximately 2,200 kilometres per second, which is less than 1 percent of the speed of light,
according to an article in Forbes
. This means Santa spends around 0.0003 seconds per household delivering presents.
In order to pull the sleigh at such a fast pace, Santa's reindeer need plenty of food for energy. If every household in
New Zealand put out one carrot along with Santa’s snack, Santa’s reindeer would have more than 26 tonnes of carrots to
eat. All up, New Zealanders would spend more than $420,000 feeding Santa’s reindeer for just one night.
Assuming all children were good during the year, it would take Santa around 3 minutes to deliver his presents in New
Where is Santa going to spend the majority of his time as he delivers presents for all the children in New Zealand? The
Gisborne region had the highest proportion (16 percent) of children aged under 10 years, while the Otago region had the
lowest proportion (11 percent). Although the Auckland region has the highest number of children under 10 years old, that
number equates to only 13.5 percent of Auckland’s usually resident population.
• New Zealand is one of the first countries to be visited by Santa, along with some of our Pacific neighbours.
Fittingly, Kiritimati (Christmas) Island in Kiribati is only 1 hour ahead of us and would be visited en route to New
• 21,325 people arrived in New Zealand on Christmas Eve 2018. Of those, 41 arrived from Santa’s homeland of
• $84 million worth of toys were imported to New Zealand between October 2018 and December 2018.
• Santa’s human helpers are busy in the lead-up to Christmas, too. There were 10,000 extra retail jobs in December
2018 (compared with September 2018).
• An estimated 37 million potential Christmas trees (pine trees) were harvested in New Zealand in 2018. They were
harvested from 62,000 hectares of pine forest and equate to approximately 22 Christmas trees per household. The majority
of harvested pine trees, however, are used within industries such as construction, furniture, and paper production.
• Santa uses a company sleigh to deliver all his presents. Like 11.2 percent of employed adults in New Zealand,
Santa uses a company vehicle to get to work.
We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.
About the 2018 Census dataset
We combined data from the census forms with administrative data to create the 2018 Census dataset, which meets Stats
NZ’s quality criteria for population structure information.
We added real data about real people to the dataset where we were confident the people should be counted but hadn’t
completed a census form. We also used data from the 2013 Census and administrative sources and statistical imputation
methods to fill in some missing characteristics of people and dwellings.
An independent panel of experts has assessed the quality of the 2018 Census dataset. In its Initial report of the 2018 External Data Quality Panel
, the panel endorsed the overall methods Stats NZ used for the 2018 Census and assessed the quality of some of the key variables
. The panel’s second report 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel: Assessment of variables provides their quality
ratings for an additional 30 variables.
Definitions and metadata
2018 Census – DataInfo+
provides information about methods, and related metadata.
2018 Census information by variable and quality – DataInfo+
provides information about the variables and their quality.
Data quality ratings for 2018 Census variables
provides information on data quality ratings.