Census 2013: increase in inequality

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, December 4th, 2013 - 26 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, john key, poverty, same old national, unemployment, wages - Tags:

Yesterday Stata NZ released a lot of data gathered from the 2013 census.  I and others queried the income statistics reported yesterday in the NZ Herald.  Today Jared Savage in the NZ Herald has provided a more comprehensive article on the growth in the rich poor divide, as revealed by this year’s census [h/t Puddleglum].

The gap between the rich and the poor appears to be widening with the number of Kiwis earning more than $100,000 increasing by nearly three quarters.

More than 181,000 people – or 5 per cent of the population – have a six-figure salary, up from 105,525 people seven years ago, according to the 2013 national Census data released yesterday.

And while the number of women on six-figure salaries has doubled since the 2006 Census they make up only 25 per cent of the total earning more than $100,000.

The statistics show median income has increased from $24,400 to $28,500 but the figure has not kept pace with the inflation rate – calculated to be $28,694 to have the same purchasing power.

[…]

Herald analysis of the income figures show a 90 per cent rise in people earning between $70,001 and $100,000 – from 125,115 to 238,212 – and a 40 per cent increase in those bringing home between $50,000 and $70,000.

Of those earning more than $100,000 41 per cent live in Auckland, 19 per cent in Wellington and 12 per cent in Christchurch.

Censes income gap 2006 & 2013

Comparison 2006 and 2013 incomes: income brackets from “loss” & “zero” to 100k +: original graph at NZ Herald

Savage also reports on the way gender differences have changed somewhat since 2006.  There gains in education and in the numbers of women in higher income brackets.  however, this has not been matched by gains in the average wage for women, with women on low incomes suffering most.

Women are a fifth more likely to have a degree than men, but women’s incomes lag behind men’s because women are still more likely to do more unpaid child-minding.

The median wage gap between men and women widened by $1000, with the income difference between the sexes increasing from $12,400 to $13,400. Men earn $36,500 and women $23,100, according to the median income figures, up from $31,500 and $19,100 respectively.

The number of women on six-figure salaries has doubled from 22,824 to 45,294 since the 2006 Census.

In this context, an article today on Stuff shows the inhumane and punitive impacts of Paula Bennett’s welfare reforms.  They have a particularly harsh impact on mothers in rural communities.

A Waikato woman with no car or access to a bus walked the equivalent of a marathon to make a Work and Income appointment, to stop her benefit getting cut off.

Sarah Warren, a Putaruru mother of four who has been on the benefit for the past 20 years, walked from Putaruru to Tokoroa twice in the past month after receiving a letter from Work and Income requiring her to attend a mandatory meeting.

With no car and no public transport available she completed the 25-kilometre return journey on foot.

“If you didn’t turn up they cut your benefit off,” she said.

Warren said she was shortsighted, but did not have her glasses on either trip.

She said she could “hardly see” as she walked along the side of the road while cars and trucks roared past.

After finishing her hour-long appointment she had to hurry home to her four children before school finished.

“I was rushing to try and get back.”

Her case manager was not interested in finding a solution, she said.

“They didn’t care how I got there. They didn’t want to hear about my situation.”

See also NZ Income Survey: June 2013 Quarter, [h/t Puddleglum] for more details incomes, including:

*Median weekly income from wages and salaries (for those receiving income from this source) was $844, up $38 (4.8 percent).

*Median hourly earnings were $21.58, up 72 cents (3.5 percent).

*Median weekly income for all people from all sources was $575.

John Key’s New Zealand: a brighter future for the well-off; more struggle and hardship for those on low incomes.

26 comments on “Census 2013: increase in inequality”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    An utter disgrace and the shame of this country.

    This shows progressive goverments since 1984 have been a disaster for 95% of New Zealanders.

    I have no problem with people earning 100K plus, so long as that median income is increasing at a rate a lot higher than inflation.

    The reality is that is impossible under the current system we live.

    • Crunchtime 1.1

      You mean “successive” governments. None of them have been particularly progressive.

  2. infused 2

    Maybe the women living in a rural area can move then?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Probably not. Probably can’t afford to (moving is expensive) and then there would also be the disruption to her children which could cause all sorts of problems.

      • QoT 2.1.1

        Draco, we’ve already established she can walk to Tokoroa, so obviously she’s just being lazy when she says moving is difficult. And children aren’t people, you just pack them away in boxes until they’re 18, so that’s that problem solved.

    • Macro 2.2

      yeah right!!
      Maybe you think up a better solution to her problem..
      Maybe you could display a bit of humanity..

  3. infused 3

    Ah cool, in moderation again. Wonder what Ive done this time…

    “”There’s no fulltime jobs around here. They [Work and Income] say you might have to move out of town to look for a fulltime job, but my kids are happy where they are.””

    Seriously, move.

    [karol: there’s some sort of technical glitch. This morning a large amount of comments have got caught up in auto-moderation. They keep being released, so I think Lynn must be onto it and trying to sort it out. A lot of them ARE spam]

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Off topic, but I really think Lynn should investigate a system where comments from well-known (and trusted) pseudonyms are not put into spam.

      Or, let us login or something.

      [karol: Lynn has commented on another thread that there is a problem with the auto-moderation at the moment. A deluge of spam is causing the auto-mod to malfunction, so trusted pseudonyms and non-suspicious comments are just waiting for manual moderation rather than being automatically cleared. He will try to sort it out when he can].

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        My point is that if the auto-moderation system goes haywire, trusted pseudonyms shouldn’t be affected by it, because they should be bypassing the system entirely.

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          That is feasible to do. But it is tricky because of the number of plugins that are interested in comments.

          The obvious way is to count approved comments. But that turns out to be one of the most expensive calcs in the system.

          • Tat Loo (CV) 3.1.1.1.1

            Have a reference table of high count commentators which is updated once per quarter?

    • Roy 3.2

      So you are saying the happiness and stability of children doesn’t matter?

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3.3

      @ Infused

      It is not that easy to move when on a benefit or low income.

      Winz will help with costs if one has a job to go to.
      It requires money, however, to get that job.

      For someone who has a lack of money and a lack of work in her work record such as the woman cited, getting a job is not a ‘sure thing’: not quite as simple as it sounds.

      Even if she could find work, due to the poor rates of pay that has become the norm, a shift from a rural setting to somewhere more urban is not guaranteed to improve her circumstances. Rents and costs can be a lot higher in urban areas. The job has to be pretty decent in order to make a move an improvement.

      There are human factors too which make this a difficult choice, uprooting her kids and losing a social support network of friends.

      Of course moving may improve a person’s financial circumstances however I am merely listing some of the unseen factors involved in moving when in that type of situation – it is something that sounds like an ‘easy fix’, yet is not as certain as one may think, especially with the low wages and high rents that we are experiencing and that have been encouraged by successive governments’ political approaches.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 3.4

      The govt needs to implement a full employment scheme for those 25 and under. Jobs should be provided in or near local communities to minimise disruption to family and social networks.

  4. Wayne 4

    These graphs are more difficult to interpret than a quick look might indicate. You will note a large increase in the top bands, a reduction in the middle and an increase in the bottom.

    There is a 7 year period between the census results, with a GFC and around 20 to 25% inflation and wage increases between the two periods.

    But the middle range of income is quite low, and is probable that a large number of these people have simply moved into the upper bands as their salaries increased. Effectively the middle bands are lower than median wages and salaries which are around $50,000 these days.

    Similarly unemployment has increased since 2006, which would account for the increase in the bottom three bands.

    So some careful analysis will be needed to assess whether they really indicate increased inequality (though higher unemployment will always give this outcome).

    • karol 4.1

      Yes, Wayne I noticed the drop in the middle bands, which was there in 2006 and 2013, especially the 25k-40k bands. It is impossible to know form the graphs what is happening there. But those income ranges are also the incomes of many working in the public sector.

      There’s a noticeable drop in the 10k-15k bracket from 2006-2013, and a significant rise of the numbers of people on zero income from 2006 to 2013. The latter include unemployed people whose partners’ income disqualifies them from getting benefits.

      As quoted in my post yesterday, Stats NZ says the 2013 census shows the median wage is $28, 500.

      Of course unemployment is part of the reason for an increase in income inequality. Your comment implies that isn’t real inequality. What sort of system can increase the incomes of the highest paid, while those on lower incomes can’t even find work, increasing the costs to taxpayers of unemployment benefits or benefits for the low paid?

      Also the graphs would be impacted by more people on part time and/or casual work.

      • Wayne 4.1.1

        Karol,

        The report you cited refers to income not to wages, which I thought as soon as I read your post.

        Income covers all those on benefits, national super and part time jobs, such as students; not just those in full time jobs.

        However full time jobs generate higher incomes. For instance at the minimum wage of $13.75 the full time wage is $28,600. Median wages are much higher, around $880 pw or $45,760.

        • karol 4.1.1.1

          Well, Wayne the 2 kinds of stats show different things. But if we are talking about income inequalities, then the wider picture of those in part time and casual work, as well as beneficiaries need to be included.

          Part of the problem in recent years is the casualisation of work, and the fact that many can only find part time work.

          The figure of “zero income” is also important, showing how many households previously with more than one wage earner have probably dropped back to one wage earner.

    • geoff 4.2

      Wayne, what do you really care if inequality has increased anyway? Doesn’t that merely reflect that those who moved down really just deserved it? The winners win and the losers lose, right? It’s all good as long as it was the market that served the economic justice.

    • KJT 4.3

      What are you trying to say, Wayne?

      Higher unemployment does not increase inequality??? FFS.

      • Wayne 4.3.1

        KJT,

        Quite the reverse, I agree that unemployment increases inequality (which I said, albeit indirectly).

        That is why getting people into jobs is so important, which is why the Nats focus on growth so much. The view is that people progressively migrate to higher paid jobs the longer they are in the workforce. Now I know that is not true for everyone, which is why there is also a focus on increasing skills.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.3.1.1

          “Focus” – yeah I can imagine you all, focussing away. Doesn’t change the fact that you make the country less productive, though, does it?

          Poor righties, all aspiration, no delivery.

          • Wayne 4.3.1.1.1

            What! with just about the highest growth in the OECD, and on track to a surplus you can’t be serious. The country is obviously more productive than in 2009 (the depth of the GFC).

            You can criticise the Nats for many things, but the failure to achieve good growth is not one of them.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.3.1.1.1.1

              I said “less productive”, Dr. Mapp. That’s, like, y’know, a “comparison”. In this case between National and Labour-led governments.

              NZ population grew 0.7% last year. Economic growth was about the same. You were saying?

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.3.1.1.1.2

              PS: growth for whom? Per capita GDP (Fact: always higher when the Left occupies the Treasury benches) is only one side of the coin when you pursue policies that exacerbate inequality, as you surely do.

            • KJT 4.3.1.1.1.3

              We won’t mention that current growth is due to a delayed cyclical coming out of the GFC, an increase in the price the “communists” pay for our milk, and an earthquake, will we?

              Not to mention getting out of the GFC in much better shape than most countries due to Cullens refusal to cut taxes and Keatings regulation of the Aussie banks, both policies which National would have reversed if they had been in pre-GFC. Just as well Labour was in for the preceding 9 years, wasn’t it?

              I will give credit, where it is due, to National for not hindering recovery too much. Especially for refusing to go towards “austerity” to the batshit extremes of some other Governments.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Māori land owners left in limbo
    The measly figure allocated to the troubled Te Ture Whenua Māori reforms in Budget 2017 are a sign the reforms are a low priority for the Government and will leave many Māori land owners in limbo, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP ...
    9 hours ago
  • Another fish hook in Budget costs families
    Some families with teenagers will be left worse off by a ‘Teenagers Tax’ hidden in the Budget, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “More than 6,000 families with teens face losing more in their Working for Families payments than ...
    16 hours ago
  • Our position on National’s 2017 Budget
    Around Parliament, Budget time is one of the busiest times of the year. Last week, things were hectic. A number of people were left with the impression that the Greens had voted for “the Budget”. This is incorrect. The Green ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 day ago
  • Ports of Auckland decision a win for workers and the environment
    Ports of Auckland’s decision to no longer release the toxic fumigant methyl bromide into the atmosphere is a win for their workers and for the environment, says Labour’s Spokesperson for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor.   “The intention to move to a ...
    2 days ago
  • Single Child Tax hidden in Budget
    Buried in National’s so-called family Budget is a Single Child Tax that will hit medium to low income families, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. ...
    2 days ago
  • Commerce Commission investigates Ron Hoy Fong
    The decision by the Commerce Commission to investigate Ron Hoy Fong and his questionable advice to property investors to use fake names and target ‘dummies’ is good news, Labour’s spokesperson on Consumer Affairs Michael Wood says.  “I am pleased that ...
    4 days ago
  • National running out of excuses on Pike
    The latest Pike River revelations further erode National's position of blocking a manned re-entry of the Pike River Mine drift, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    4 days ago
  • Nats’ Budget locks in housing crisis
    National’s ninth Budget forecasts house prices will rise at three times the rate of wages, locking in the housing crisis for years to come, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “After nine years, all National can offer is a ...
    4 days ago
  • Small change that is sorely needed
    The big headline of the Government’s Budget yesterday was its Family Incomes Package – a range of measures including changes to income tax thresholds and the Family Tax Credit. Overall the Budget is a huge disappointment and a missed opportunity ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Kids bear the brunt of Budget
    Future generations are the ones bearing the brunt of National’s failure to provide education services the funding they need to make ends meet, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “For nine years in a row the Government has told our ...
    4 days ago
  • The real costs of National’s election bribe
    The cost of National’s poorly-targeted election year budget bribe is that there’s nothing to fix the housing crisis, health funding is cut, and funding for schools is cut, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “As the dust begins to settle ...
    5 days ago
  • Health running on empty
    Get ready for more cuts to health at a local level, affecting all New Zealanders, after a Budget that failed to deliver even enough for health services to stand still, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “District Health Boards this ...
    5 days ago
  • Nats’ budget a double-crewed ambulance parked at the bottom of the cliff
    National’s election year Budget shows that there’s no coincidence Finance Minister Steven Joyce doubles as National’s campaign manager, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The 2017 Budget reveals a lack of vision, and is simply an election year budget with ...
    5 days ago
  • After nine years, it’s the One Dollar Bill Budget
    National’s Budget 2017 is an irresponsible election bribe which after nine years exposes a government that’s run out of energy and ideas to tackle the big issues facing New Zealand,” says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “This is simply cynical electioneering ...
    5 days ago
  • Alfred Ngaro might be sorry – but to whom?
    The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “As ...
    6 days ago
  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    6 days ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    6 days ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    7 days ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    1 week ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    1 week ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    3 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    3 weeks ago