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The Ageing of the New Zealand Population, 1881-2051 - WP 03/27

4  Disaggregated measures

Section 3 has already alluded to the need to disaggregate in order to identify contrasts in the demographic situations of different ethnic groups. Disaggregating by geographical region and by narrow age group also reveals some important differences.

4.1  Ethnicity

Fertility rates for the “European”, “Maori”, “Pacific” and “Asian” ethnic groups are shown in Table 1. In Table 1, as in the rest of this section, the ethnic groups used for the estimates are not mutually exclusive: for instance, people who identified themselves as both “European” and “Maori” on their census forms are included in both estimates. Nor are the groups exhaustive: Statistics New Zealand also has a catch-all “Other” category, whose results are not shown here. Maori and Pacific Peoples have significantly higher fertility than Europeans and Asians. These differences are long-standing (see, for instance, Figure 4.) Maori and Pacific Peoples have significantly lower life expectancies than Europeans and Asians[3]. Migration patterns also differ: the “Asian” ethnic group, for instance, has very high migration rates in the young adult ages.

Table 1 – Total fertility rates, by ethnic group, 2001
Ethnic group Total fertility rate
European 1.76
Maori 2.55
Pacific 2.95
Asian 1.65
Overall 1.97

Source – Obtained from the documentation accompanying Statistics New Zealand’s 2001-base ethnic population projections. Accessed from the Statistics New Zealand website www.stats.govt.nz in July 2003.

Notes – The total fertility rate is the number of births the average woman would have over her lifetime if prevailing age-specific fertility rates were to be maintained indefinitely. The ethnic groups are not mutually exclusive: for instance, a person who identified themselves as both “European” and “Maori” would be included in both estimates.

Figure 10 shows age-sex pyramids. The width of each horizontal bar in the pyramid indicates the proportion of the ethnic group in that age-sex category. The wide bases of the Maori and Pacific pyramids imply that the Maori and Pacific populations are relatively young. The bulge in the European pyramid between ages 30 and 54 is formed by the baby boom cohorts; the bulge about 30 years below this is formed by the baby boomers’ children. The bulge in the Asian pyramid at ages 15-24 is formed by students.

Differences in the age structures of ethnic groups mean they are affected differently by age-specific social trends. Rises or falls in youth employment, for instance are have a disproportional impact on Maori and Pacific Peoples. Conversely, changes in superannuation arrangements have a disproportional impact on Europeans. The population-level differences visible in Figure 10 also have family level counterparts. Elderly Maori and Pacific Peoples, for instance, have more children whom they can draw on for support than do elderly Asians and Europeans (Statistics New Zealand 2001b: Table 8).

Figure 10 – Age-sex pyramids, by ethnicity, 2001
European (left) and Maori (right)
Age-sex pyramids, by ethnicity, 2001 - European and Maori
Pacific (left) and Asian (right)
Age-sex pyramids, by ethnicity, 2001 - Pacific and Asian
Source: Calculated from 2001 Census data downloaded from Statistics New Zealand website www.stats.govt.nz in July 2003.

Note – The categories are not mutually exclusive: for instance, a person who chooses both European and Maori ethnicities is included in both categories.

Notes

  • [3]See, for instance, Figure 5 and the documentation accompanying Statistics New Zealand’s 2001-base ethnic population projections, available from the Statistics New Zealand website www.stats.govt.nz.
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