What does census reveal about you?

Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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Compared to the average Kiwis, capital dwellers are faithless rich singletons with a flair for volunteering.

Census 2013 figures released yesterday reveal the ways Kiwis live in different parts the country - from what jobs we choose to our religious faith.

While overall we are smoking and praying less and earning more, our behaviour varies greatly depending on where we live.

In the capital, fewer than one in 10 people smoke regularly.

Wellingtonians are the least likely to have married and are more likely to be single than most New Zealanders.

With more than four in 10 declaring no faith, the capital is among the least religious cities, second only to Dunedin.

It also has the wealthiest residents in the country, with the median yearly household income of $91,100.

Only residents in the Orakei area in Auckland earn more.

Despite the high income, more Wellingtonians also did unpaid work than anywhere else, with nine out 10 either volunteering, caring for children or helping out around the house.

Overall, they were most likely to work in professional, scientific or technical services.

The picture was slightly different in the Hutt Valley and Porirua, where people were more likely to be religious, smoke, and be in a relationship.

Public administration was the biggest employment in the Hutt Valley but residents in Porirua were more likely to work in health care and social services.

In Kapiti Coast, most people worked in retail and were generally less financially well-off than residents further south in the region.

SMOKING DOWN IN CANTERBURY

Fewer Cantabrians than previously thought are smoking to deal with post-quake stress.

The number of Canterbury adults regularly smoking has dropped 20.2 per cent since 2006, newly released Census data show.

During that time, 14,997 fewer people turned to tobacco, debunking findings of recent studies suggesting more people were lighting up in the wake of the earthquakes.

A notable decrease was also recorded among the region's young smokers.

Just 10.8 per cent of people between the ages 15 and 19 consider themselves regular smokers, a 7.4 per cent drop since 2006.

Nationally, there were 22.5 per cent fewer smokers in 2013 than 2006, and the rest of the South Island had a similar decrease.

Otago led the country, with a 25.6 per cent drop in adult regular smoking.

The nationwide decrease has been hailed a "wonderful result" by ASH director Stephanie Erick, who said it highlighted the effect of tax increases on tobacco and a "national strategy" targeting smokers.

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"The messages are getting through to those smokers who are keen to quit but haven't been accessing those services," she said.

Erick said she was "particularly pleased" about the decrease in Christchurch.

While there was no way to know if there would have been a larger decrease without the effects of the earthquake, she said, many people may have adopted the "life is short" mentality and opted to quit.

The census data appear to contradict popularly held beliefs about the state of smoking in Canterbury.

About the same time as the census was held last year, the Canterbury District Health Board reported smoking was on the rise.

One study at the time surveyed 557 Christchurch people actively trying to quit smoking in a clinical drug trial during the quakes. More than 60 per cent relapsed after the February quake.

Canterbury District Health Board Smokefree manager Vivien Daley said an increase in cigarette prices was having an impact.While a small research project showed a slight increase in smoking in Christchurch in the year after the quakes, the trend before, and more recently, showed overall rates had been steadily decreasing, she said.

However, one Christchurch tobacco researcher believes health professionals should not be celebrating too soon.

End Smoking New Zealand Trust chairman Dr Murray Laugesen said the decrease was "nothing startling" over the period. "We would have also seen a greater decrease if it wasn't for the earthquakes."

While anti-smoking campaigns and tax increases had deterred some people from smoking, it was still not enough, he said.

Laugesen said there would be no a rapid decline in smoking until nicotine electronic cigarettes were legalised.

Other significant changes in the region highlighted by the new census data included a continuing decline in religious affiliation, and the expected exponential growth of the construction industry.

Last year, almost 10 per cent fewer people identified with a religion, with a quarter of Cantabrians checking the "no religion" box.

The total number of Canterbury residents working in the construction industry had increased 53.8 per cent since 2006.

CHRISTIANITY STILL STRONG IN SOUTHLAND

While some Southlanders have ditched the Bible, Christianity is still the faith of choice in Southland.

The latest 2013 census data released yesterday shows Southland has the highest proportion of Christians in the country.

With 51.9 per cent of Southlanders identifying as Christians, religion is still a strong part of Southlanders' lives, but at the same time, the region has experienced the largest increase in the proportion of people with no affiliation with religion at all.

In the 2006 census, 32.9 per cent of Southlanders had no religion but in the latest census, that number had increased to 42.9 per cent.

Despite the strong faith in Christianity, many of the conventional churches were losing parishioners while more uncommon religions were gaining followers.

Religious leaders, however, were not surprised by the numbers.

Nationally, the statistics mirrored those in Southland, with many Christian religions declining in numbers and a 5.5 per cent decline in the number of New Zealanders affiliated with religion.

The Anglican church in Southland lost about 1000 believers, according to the census data, while Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Latter-day Saints, Methodist and Pentecostal also decreased in numbers.

Anglican Diocesan manager Graeme Sykes said the Anglican church had closed some churches recently and he was not surprised by the drop. However in the past 12 months, numbers had been steady, he said.

The change in farming in rural Southland had contributed to the loss of parishioners, with rural churches suffering the most, he said.

The Presbyterian, Congregational and Reformed churches in Southland took the biggest hit with numbers plummeting by more than 5000 people affiliated with those religions.

Southern Presbytery Otago/Southland executive officer Alan Judge said in the past two years church attendees had remained stable but the number of children attending had increased.

"Some of our churches are growing and some of them are not, it's the way it's always been."

The number of followers in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism/Jewish and Spiritualism and New Age Religions all increased.

Only nine people associated with the Sikh religion in 2006 but last year that number had jumped to 60.

Southland Muslim Association president Reza Abdul Jabbar was not surprised by the increase in the number of Muslims in Southland, and he believed there were more than the 186 recorded in the census.

The mosque, based in Invercargill, was experiencing a steady increase in the number of attendees, with some Southland families choosing to convert to the religion, he said.

Also released yesterday were statistics on marital and relationship status.

The number of married people in Southland has dropped slightly, moving from 35,163 in 2006 to 34,788 last year.

The number of smokers in the region had also increased, with the number of female and male smokers increasing by about 1000 people to 37,848 and 36,279 respectively.

Statistics on occupations in Southland were also released, showing there were 3000 more men in managerial positions than women and 3000 more men working in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

The median household income also increased from $44,200 to $57,400.

SOUTH INCOMES SHOOT UP

Median household incomes have increased by a third across South Canterbury in the last seven years, according to 2013 census figures.

In the Timaru District the median rose 32 per cent from $40,500 to $53,700, while Mackenzie and Waimate each saw an increase of 37 per cent.

Mackenzie's rose from $40,200 to $55,100 and Waimate's from $35,200 to $48,300.

For the whole of New Zealand the median household income was $63,800, according to the latest breakdown of regional figures released by Statistics New Zealand yesterday.

In all three South Canterbury districts the number of superannuitants and beneficiaries brings the median income down.

Households earning between $20,000 and $50,000 numbered 7257, while those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 numbered 7071.

There were 3606 households earning more than $100,000.

In Timaru, by far the majority of people aged 15 or older were in paid employment, at 17,385.

A further 1572 described themselves as employers and 2013 were self-employed with no employees.

The Mackenzie has 1527 people in paid employment, 255 classed as employers and 396 as self-employed without employees.

Waimate had 2340 paid employees, 387 employers and 537 self-employed without staff.

The most common category of occupation for Timaru was labourers, followed by managers and professionals, whereas in the Mackenzie and Waimate, managers led the way from labourers and professionals.

The most common industry group for Timaru was manufacturing, followed by retail and thirdly the primary industry grouping of agriculture, forestry and fishing.

In the Mackenzie, the primary sector dominated, followed by accommodation and food services, and then construction.

In Waimate agriculture, forestry and fishing were even more dominant, followed by manufacturing and retail.

- The Dominion Post

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