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Geography and the Inclusive Economy: A Regional Perspective - WP 01/17

Annex 2: Regional fortunes over time

Figure 2 gives a picture of regional fortunes over time. It graphs the proportion of regional populations in the bottom deprivation decile nationally in 1986, 1991 and 1996. In 1996 Northland and Gisborne shared much higher levels of deprivation than other New Zealand regions, however over time we see very different things going on. While Gisborne has been consistently disproportionately deprived it has, in fact improved its position between 1986 and 1996. Northland, however, has deteriorated significantly: in 1986 its share of the bottom decile was a proportionate 10%; by 1996 the share had shot up to 24%. The Auckland and Waikato regions have also increased their share of people living in deprived neighbourhoods. The West Coast has worsened marginally and most other New Zealand regions have improved.

Figure 2 - Percentage of each region’s population in the bottom decile meshblocks for 1986, 1991 and 1996
Figure 2 - Percentage of each region’s population in the bottom decile meshblocks for 1986, 1991 and 1996.

What the above graph doesn’t tell us is the degree to which it is the same people who dwell in the persistently deprived neighbourhoods. Certain suburbs, for example, may function as stepping stones where new immigrants locate initially and then move once established. From an inclusive economy perspective we may be less concerned if there are high levels of churning, than if there is persistence of deprivation among individuals.

At an individual level, we know that some families and individuals experience persistent low income, while many others move rapidly between income groups.[24] However to fully understand fortunes of people, as well as regions, over time we need individual level data on location and migration patterns.

Notes

  • [24]See O’Dea D. (2000).
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