The 2021 Census at school database  is open for analysis and some interesting findings are emerging.


Seven out of ten New Zealand school students say that learning at home was the same or better during lockdown compared to learning in school normally. The numbers were slightly lower for those studying towards their NCEA qualifications; 64% for Year 11, 59% for Year 12, and 51% for Year 13 students.


The length of screentime that students say they get after they get home from school has slightly increased since the last time CensusAtSchool was run in 2019. High school students now spend a median of three and a half hours on their phone, computer, tablet, TV, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, and the like – but a quarter spent five and a quarter hours or more in front of a screen.


In other findings, 42% of students say they often get their news from social media including YouTube. This figure was higher than all other forms of media asked about, including TV (32%), Google or other search engines (26%), news websites or apps (17%), radio (16%), podcasts (5%), and only 5% from print publications such as newspapers and magazines.


The survey also asks students about their social media usage in the past week. 82% said that they had watched YouTube compared with only 16% who had used Facebook. TikTok came in second with 53%, Instagram on 45%, and followed closely by Snapchat on 44%.


In the battle of video games, 37% played Minecraft in the past week, compared with 31% for Roblox and only 16% played Fortnite.


In other findings, the top 10 favourite animated movies are:

  1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train
  2. The Lion King
  3. Cars
  4. Shrek
  5. Raya and the Last Dragon
  6. The Simpsons Movie
  7. The Mitchells vs. the Machines
  8. Frozen II
  9. Moana
  10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


This data comes from the first 13,431 students to complete the survey.

See the questions, which schools are taking part, and a live dashboard of results on CensusAtSchool’s website

Register to take part and get your students involved so they are part of the data 

CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people and is carried out in Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan, and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.

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