New Zealand: Squandering its Maori and Pacific Islander demographic dividend

Posted: March 17, 2014 in General - Unemployment
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Via The New Zealand Herald. The first in a four-part series. Closing the gaps: The great ethnic job divide. Excerpt:

New Zealand is still wasting its “demographic dividend” of young Maori and Pacific people reaching working age, as investments in health and education fail to flow through into highly paid jobs.

That’s the conclusion Waikato University demographer Dr Tahu Kukutai draws from data showing that Maori and Pacific incomes still show no trend towards catching up with higher-paid Europeans, and that Maori and Pacific people have lost relatively more jobs in the recent recession.

The youthful Maori and Pacific populations make up almost 27 per cent of New Zealanders aged 18 to 24, compared with only 17 per cent of the older working age group aged 25 to 64 – giving New Zealand a demographic “dividend” that other developed countries with rapidly ageing populations don’t have.

But 22.7 per cent of young Maori and 20.1 per cent of Pacific people aged 15 to 24 were not in employment, education or training (Neet) last year, compared with only 9.9 per cent of young Europeans and 5.7 per cent of young Asians.

Many others have gone to Australia. Despite offsetting immigration, last year’s Census revealed that New Zealand’s total population aged 25 to 39 dropped by 5 per cent between 2001 and 2013. The Maori population in that prime working age group dropped by 9 per cent.

A study of Australia’s 2011 Census by Dr Kukutai and Shefali Pawar found that the Maori share of the NZ-born population in Australia rose from 13.8 per cent in 2001 to 17.1 per cent in 2011, higher than the 14.9 per cent Maori share of the population in New Zealand.

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