Canterbury richer, older, more male

CHARLIE GATES AND ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 11:40 04/12/2013
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Canterbury people are now richer, better qualified, older and more likely to be male than seven years ago, according to the latest census.

The first comprehensive snapshot of Canterbury's changing population for seven years has been revealed in figures calculated from the 2013 census.

The population has seen a 9.5 per cent rise in the number of men aged 20 to 24, from 17,847 to 19,548, and a 10 per cent rise in the number of men aged 25 to 29, from 14,730 to 16,203.

By comparison, the number of women in their twenties rose by just two per cent rise.

Overall, 49.4 per cent of the Canterbury population is now male and 50.6 per cent is female. This compares with national figures which see males making up 48.7 per cent of the New Zealand population and females 51.3 per cent. 

Census general manager Sarah Minson said the rise in the number of men in their 20s in Canterbury could be related to the rebuild, but there were no clear figures yet.

The rise could also be behind increased median incomes because men typically earned more.

Incomes on the rise

The new data shows the median income in Canterbury has risen about 28 per cent from $23,500 in 2006 to $30,100 in 2013. The median income in Canterbury is about $1600 higher than the national figure of $28,500.

The region enjoyed the second biggest growth in median income in New Zealand, just behind Wellington.

The median income rose for every age group in Canterbury except 15 to 19-year-olds, who experienced a 34 per cent decline to $2300 a year.

People aged between 65 and 69 experienced the highest rise in median income, with a 50 per cent bump from 2006 to $24,700. Women aged between 60 and 65 had a median income rise of 65 per cent to $24,500.

Principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Shamubeel Eaqub, said the shift in Canterbury from retail and hospitality to construction jobs could be driving the wage growth.

"The industries that have grown a lot are contributing more. Industries like construction contribute more and we have had wage inflation in construction since the Canterbury earthquakes," he said.

"In Christchurch, the number of hospitality jobs has fallen and there are more construction jobs so it is a double effect."

He said there was a national trend for older people staying in the workforce longer, which was inflating the median income for older age brackets.

"If you are in work at that age, your income is likely to be relatively high compared to superannuation.

"The workforce participation rate among older people has doubled across New Zealand."

Canterbury is also getting older, with a 30 per cent rise in the number of people aged 60 to 64 and a 23 per cent rise in people aged over 85. But there was also a 10 per cent rise in the number of men in their 20s in Christchurch, compared to a 2 per cent rise for women in their 20s.

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The number of people aged 5-19 and 30-44 fell in Canterbury from 2006 to 2013.

Canterbury people also appear to be better qualified than they were seven years ago. The percentage of people with no qualifications in Canterbury fell from 23 per cent in 2006 to 19 per cent in 2013. There were also small increases in the percentage of the Canterbury population with a bachelor degree or higher, but this was lower than the national average.

The New Zealand census was taken on March 5 and was the first since 2006. The Government survey was due to take place in 2011, but was postponed because of the February earthquake.

CHANGES IN CANTERBURY

- A 10 per cent rise in the number of men in their 20s.

- A 30 per cent rise in the number of people aged 60 to 64.

- Median income rose 28 per cent to $30,100.

- A 65 per cent rise in median income for women aged 60 to 64.

UNOCCUPIED HOMES

One in 10 homes are unoccupied in St Martins and Opawa despite the suburbs being outside the residential red zone, newly released Census data shows.

The number of unoccupied dwellings in New Zealand has risen by 16 per cent since the 2006 Census - or 26,000 homes, according to 2013 results.

Government statistician Liz MacPherson said Canterbury accounted for almost 40 per cent of that increase - a legacy of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The 2013 data shows unoccupancy rates to be, not surprisingly, high in some red zone areas.

About 40 per cent of the houses in Avonside, Bexley and Dallington were recorded as empty when census staff visited earlier this year.

Some of them will have since been demolished.

The 2013 data also shows that a significant number of homes were unoccupied in areas outside the red zone.

Roughly one in 10 houses were sitting empty in St Martins, with 87 per cent occupancy, when the census was carried out. In Opawa, the occupation rate was 89 per cent. The suburb with the highest occupancy rate in Canterbury was Islington - at 97 per cent.

The rate was the lowest in areas where there are holiday houses, including Akaroa and Port Levy.

EMPTY SUBURBS

- St Martins went from having 96 unoccupied homes in 2006 to having 252 (13 per cent unoccupied) in 2013

- Opawa went from having 57 unoccupied homes in 2006 to 147 (11 per cent unoccupied) in 2013

- Avonside went from having 75 unoccupied homes in 2006 to 531 (42 per cent unoccupied) in 2013

- Dallington went from having 54 unoccupied homes in 2006 to 519 (41 per cent unoccupied) in 2013

- Bexley went from having 78 unoccupied homes in 2006 to 594 (40 per cent unoccupied) in 2013

KEY FACTS FOR NZ

 

- The country's resident population is 4,242,048 people.

 

- The median age is 38 - up from 35.9 in 2006.

 

- Males account for 48.7 per cent of the population; females account for 51.3 per cent.

 

- Europeans make up 74 per cent of the population.

 

- Maori make up 14.9 per cent, Pacific peoples 7.4 and Asian peoples 11.8.

- A quarter of the population was born overseas.

- The four most common languages are: English, Maori, Samoan and Hindi.

- The percentage of New Zealanders who speak Maori has decreased from 4.1 per cent in 2006 to 3.7 per cent in 2013.

- New Zealand Sign Language use fell from 24,087 people in 2006 to 20,235 people in 2013.

- One in five adults has a university degree or equivalent - up from 16 per cent in 2006.

- The median income in New Zealand is $28,500.

- 5.9 per cent earn more than $100,000.

- Three quarters of households have internet access.

- The Press

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