The 2016 census results will be released in stages starting from next month, says Ministry of Finance and Economic Management government statistician Taggy Tangimetua.
Preliminary results have been out since the beginning of the year, but the final results have been delayed due to a specific scanning software fault which resulted in the statistics being sent to New Zealand.
Tangimetua says the final results will be checked against the preliminary results and only minor changes should be expected.
Final results will be released online, starting with demographics and followed by statistics on the economy, social issues, housing and health.
The five-yearly census measures population size, composition and distribution, economic activity, and health, and counted residents and non-resident tourists who were in the Cook Islands on census night, December 1, 2016.
At that time preliminary results showed a population decrease of two per cent in the Cook Islands population compared to the 2011 census.
The preliminary results showed that 17,459 people were residing in the Cook Islands on that day. Of those, 15,562 were permanent residents and 1897 were visitors.
From those numbers, 13,044 were on Rarotonga at the time, with 1928 on Aitutaki, 499 on Mangaia, 437 on Atiu, 297 on Mauke 155 on Mitiaro, 58 on Palmerston, 444 on Pukapuka, 78 on Nassau, 213 on Manihiki, 80 on Rakahanga and 226 on Penrhyn.
The census showed 75 per cent of the total population residing in Rarotonga, while 19 per cent were in the rest of the southern group and six per cent were in the northern group.
Preliminary results also revealed a slight increase in the female population in the Cook Islands, with a total number of 8597 males and 8862 females. By comparison, the 2011 census showed males making up a larger proportion of the population.