New Zealand’s changing ethnic profile – what will the 2013 census reveal?
A crystal ball isn’t necessary to predict that the 2013 census will confirm an increasingly diverse New Zealand population. The “who”, and “where” of this prediction requires more thought though, because the geographical spread and age profiles of New Zealand’s main ethnic groups vary.
Unsurprisingly Europeans are the largest ethnic group in New Zealand . In the 2006 census, Europeans accounted for 67.6% of the population. [It’s worth remembering that the New Zealander category was included in “other ethnicity” for the first time in the 2006 census, where in previous years it had been included as a subset of the European group]. Māori were New Zealand’s second largest ethnic group with 14.6%, the Asian ethnic group third with 9.2% and the Pacific peoples fourth with 6.9%.
Interestingly a higher proportion of Māori are found in smaller centres in New Zealand, with the group having proportionately lower numbers in the larger centres. For example, in Auckland Māori make up 11.1%, and in Wellington only 7.4% as compared to the national profile of 14.6%. In comparison, smaller cities like Wanganui and Napier have higher proportions of Māori (with 21.3% and 17.7% respectively).
Of the four largest ethnic classes, the Asian group grew the fastest between the 2001 and 2006 census, registering an increase of almost 50%. Within the Asian category, the Chinese dominated numbers with 105,057 people in 2001 and again in 2006 with 147,570. Yet those identifying an Indian ethnicity within the Asian group registered the largest relative increase of 68.2% between the 2001 and 2006 census, increasing from 62,190 to 104,583.
In comparison to the Māori, those of Asian ethnicity typically cluster in the major metropolitan centres, particularly in Auckland where two thirds of the group report living. Those with Asian ethnicity are also relatively youthful with young adults between 15 and 29 years accounting for roughly one in three. Similarly the Pacific peoples show a marked preference for the North Island with 93.4% living there, and two out of every three live in Auckland. Notably the Pacific people had the highest proportion of children of all of the major ethnic groups, with 37.7% aged between 0-14 years.
The above statistics reveal Auckland as the most ethnically diverse region in New Zealand. In Auckland just over half the population identifies with the European ethnic group (56.5%),the Asian ethnic group account for 18.9%, the Pacific peoples 14.4%, and 11.1% the Māori ethnic group.