Tens of thousands of kiwis are living "outside the norm" in alternative accommodation.

An analysis released today by Statistics New Zealand found more than 98,000 people - 2.3 per cent of the population - don't go home to a traditional house.

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Instead they live in places like motor camps, garages, guest accommodation, boarding houses and residential care.

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"Most people in New Zealand live in conventional dwellings, such as houses, units, and apartments," Census customer focus manager Gareth Meech said.

"The report we've published today gives us a unique insight into people who live outside this norm.

"For example, it shows that people in alternative types of private dwellings tended to have lower incomes than people in conventional dwellings, despite having similar rates of employment.

"This may reflect another of our findings - that people in alternative private dwellings were less likely to have a formal qualification."

The analysis used data from the 2013 Census and also found:

• Of the 11,589 people who lived in motels and guest accommodation, nearly half were born overseas.

• Four in 5 people who lived in boarding houses did not have a partner.

• Almost 32,000 people lived in residential care for older people.

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• Three-quarters of those people were aged 80 years or more.