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Using Integrated Administrative Data to Identify Youth Who Are at Risk of Poor Outcomes as Adults

3 Which young people experience poor outcomes?

This section presents a descriptive analysis of the 1990/91 birth cohort's characteristics and outcomes observed between ages 15 and 22, alongside their projected outcomes beyond that age. The population is described using a range of factors we expect to be predictive of poor future outcomes. These factors are a selected subset of the factors included in the regression modelling exercise described in the next section. The full set of factors included in the modelling is listed in Appendix 1.

Socio-demographic characteristics

Outcomes by gender and ethnicity are given below in Table 1 for the 1990 cohort population. Young men are somewhat more likely than young women to have poor educational outcomes and considerably more likely to have been sentenced for a criminal offence. Women are slightly more likely to have a poor mental health outcome and considerably more likely to experience long-term benefit receipt in their late 20s and early 30s. Young people of Asian ethnicity are less likely to experience poor outcomes across all domains, while Māori youth have relatively poor outcomes across all but the mental health domain, where they are more or less on a par with European youth. Outcomes for young Pasifika people tend to be better than for Māori but worse than other ethnic groups. The exception to this is mental health service use, where Pasifika rates are low compared to most ethnic groups.

Results are also presented by New Zealand Deprivation Index (NZDep) deciles. NZDep is a geographically defined measure of socio-economic deprivation.[10] Scores are associated with each meshblock in New Zealand and defined in such a way that a 10th of the New Zealand population fall into each decile group. The population living in the least deprived areas in New Zealand are categorised as decile 1, while those living in the most deprived areas are categorised as decile 10. Table1 shows outcomes for the youth population living in each NZDep decile at age 15. Unsurprisingly, there is a clear gradient of outcomes across NZDep deciles, with those living in higher decile areas being progressively more likely to experience poor outcomes. The exception to this is the mental health outcome measure, with little difference across deciles (ranging from 18% in decile 2 to 22% in decile 8).

Table 1: Socio-demographic characteristics and outcomes for youth 1990/91 cohort Table 1: Socio-demographic characteristics and outcomes for youth 1990/91 cohort
 Characteristics Cohort
Estimated outcomes
No level 2 quals No level 4 quals Mental health Corrections sentence Long-term benefit


Male 32,118 51% 28% 66% 18% 13% 5%
Female 30,627 49% 21% 55% 21% 5% 13%


Asian 4,464 7% 12% 42% 8% 2% 2%
European 39,270 63% 20% 55% 22% 5% 6%
Māori 13,182 21% 41% 78% 21% 21% 20%
Other 717 1% 21% 54% 16% 5% 4%
Pasifika 5,118 8% 30% 71% 11% 11% 11%


1 (least deprived) 6,261 10% 13% 47% 19% 4% 4%
2 6,042 10% 16% 49% 18% 4% 5%
3 5,886 9% 18% 53% 19% 5% 6%
4 5,745 9% 19% 55% 20% 6% 6%
5 5,838 9% 21% 56% 20% 7% 7%
6 5,883 9% 24% 60% 20% 7% 8%
7 5,928 9% 27% 63% 21% 9% 10%
8 6,213 10% 31% 68% 22% 12% 12%
9 6,912 11% 34% 71% 20% 13% 13%
10 (most deprived) 8,034 13% 39% 76% 19% 17% 17%
TOTAL 62,745 100% 25% 60% 20% 9% 9%

* NZDep is calculated here based on the young person's identified location at age 15.

Location in New Zealand

Outcomes by territorial authority (TA) area are presented in Appendix 2 Table 1. Some caution needs to be exercised when interpreting these results as some areas are small, and results are for a single birth cohort only. Outcomes could vary considerably across cohorts for these small areas. For this reason, we avoid commenting on areas with fewer than 100 people in the cohort. Amongst larger TA areas, a few things stand out however.

A number of areas stand out for the high proportion of people in the cohort at age 15 who were expected to have poor educational outcomes. In Buller, Opotiki, Ruapehu and Waitomo districts, around two-fifths of 15-year-olds failed to achieve level 2 qualifications by age 23, while around four-fifths failed to achieve a level 4 qualification by age 23. This compares to around one-quarter and three-fifths respectively in the general population and around one-fifth and one-half respectively in Auckland City.

Two territorial authorities stand out not only for poor educational outcomes but for poor outcomes across a range of domains. Kawerau and Wairoa have similar expected educational outcomes to the districts just discussed, but around one-fifth (19% and 22% respectively) of 15-year-olds in the cohort were expected to be sentenced to a custodial or community sentence, and almost one-quarter (23% and 24% respectively) were expected to be on benefit for five years or more between the ages of 25 and 34. The corresponding figures for both measures were about 7% in Auckland City and around 9% across New Zealand overall.

One territorial authority, Carterton, stands out as having particularly high use of mental health services with 34% of the 1990/91 birth cohort using mental health services between ages 20 and 22 (compared to 16% of the Auckland cohort and 20% across New Zealand).

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