Wealthier and more diverse
AMANDA PARKINSON, NICCI MCDOUGALL AND DEBBIE JAMIESON
Do you agree with the census data?
Poll: Southland is becoming more ethnically diverse, while its residents are enjoying higher average incomes, 2013 census data show.
The data, part one of the census regional statistics, were released yesterday and cover population, gender, ethnicity, income, housing, and qualifications.
They show females outnumber males in Southland, with 47,178 females living in the region compared with 46,164 males.
In Otago, there are 103,767 females, compared with 98,700 males.
The data also show Southland is becoming more multicultural.
While most people identify as European (79,731), those identified as Maori, Pacific, Asian, or Middle Eastern/African/Latin American have increased.
The number of Asians has increased from 1149 in 2006 to 2841.
Southern Institute of Technology chief executive Penny Simmonds said more international students had enrolled in courses at the institute during the past five years.
"International students have increased since 2008, we had over 550 fulltime international students enrolled this year compared with 107 in 2008."
However, Southland also has the second-lowest percentage of people with a university degree, at 11.5 per cent, compared with the national average of 20 per cent.
Southland median yearly incomes have also increased by $6300 to $29,500 - $1000 higher than the national average.
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the data were "absolutely fabulous" and would give people confidence to invest in the city.
Despite the population's increased wealth, the number of people buying houses in the area followed a national trend and decreased from 2006 figures.
Last year's Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter troubles could be responsible for the downturn in the housing market, Mr Shadbolt said.
Government statistician Liz MacPherson said the nation had a lower rate of home ownership than in 2006, but the number of dwellings had increased.
"The Southland region on the whole reflects those trends, but the rate of home ownership among the population is higher than in other parts of the country."
Home ownership was 69.7 per cent, down from 73.5 per cent in 2006.
Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said he was happy Southlanders were enjoying increased incomes.
"It is a very good sign, people are coming to Southland and jobs must be such that we will start filling up some of those empty homes around the place."
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said he was not surprised by the ethnicity figures, which probably reflected people migrating to the dairy industry.
The new data also show significant increases in ethnic populations in Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes District.
Queenstown Lakes District data show people born in Asia, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia had increased by more than 40 per cent compared with 2006 data.
Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper said he was not surprised at the increase in diversity and thought there had also been a significant increase in the number of South African-born residents.
"Even though the percentage differences are quite high it's not a high number of people," he said.
The changes reflected the "internationalisation" of New Zealand, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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