The latest census data is being revealed, and there’s a guide available to some of the main findings on Stuff and the NZ Herald’s sites. The information is presented in pretty much the same format, indicating that both sites have mostly just re-published Stats NZ’s package. There’s some interesting information there, but also some curious ways of packaging the information.
The headlines for both are focusing on the aging population. The overall increase in the 50-69 age group is significant. NZ Herald article on it states that this amounts to an increase of 2 years in the median age.
However, the more telling statistics of socio-economic differences come lower down in the article, and they are packaged in a distorted way. The stats are packaged as for a representative village of 100 people (i.e. indicating a percentage):
The misleading part is the way it organises incomes into bands:
$30,000 and less per year- 38 people (38% of labour force)
$30,000 to $70,000 – 25 people (25% of labour force)
That adds up to 63% of the labour force. So the median (mid point with 50% above and below that income level) is obscured somewhere between $30-$70 thou per year.
It doesn’t state whether this is net or gross income. *
The graphic shows that there’s a $13,400 difference between the median income for men and women. It also shows that the median income for Maori is $22,500 ($27,200 median for Maori men; $19, 900 median for Maori women).
The graphic breaks down the occupations into general groups. It’s also a bit misleading because it has one category for “professionals” (10) and “managers” (8) making them look like the biggest group (18), while breaking workers into a variety of groups:
clerical and admin workers (5);
technicians and trades workers (5);
community and personal service workers (4);
sales workers (4);
machine operators and drivers (2).
Total workers (non-professional or managers), 25 workers.
Overall total of sample included is 43 (strange number).
“Professionals” and one for “managers”. These could overlap and also include a pretty diverse range of incomes: from the top 5% of earners to the lower middle income in the lower end of the $30,000-$70,000 range.
Another significant finding is in relation to housing. We are in the midst of an (un)affordable housing crisis, especially in Canterbury and Auckland.
The country’s total number of dwellings, both occupied and unoccupied, increased by just over 118,000 since 2006, to top 1.7 million.
Nearly 30 per cent of this increase was in the Auckland region.
While there were more dwellings, a lower proportion of households owned their homes.
“The rate of home ownership fell to just under 65 per cent at the 2013 census, compared with almost 67 per cent at the 2006 census,” Ms MacPherson said.
The number of unoccupied dwellings increased sharply since 2006, up more than 26,000 or 16.4 per cent.
“Almost 40 percent of this increase was in Canterbury, probably because of people leaving their dwellings after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes,” Ms MacPherson said.
The amount of dwellings increased by $118,000, but the population increased by 214,101. So they increase in dwellings meant one for about every 2 people. As I recall, past stats showed there was an ongoing increase in one person households.
The most worrying stat is that there has been a big increase in unoccupied dwellings. Canterbury accounts for 40% of this, but where are the other 60% of the increase? Is this land bankers buying up proprty and sitting on it in the hope of some big dividend in the future?
I don’t see anything on those struggling to live on benefits.
This is just my first look at the reports of the stats released today. I am pretty sure you all will have further observations to make as some people dig further into the statistics.
* [Update] The income stats are based on “total income”: i.e. gross amount.
Stats NZ reports that the median income was $28,500