Yesterday reader Aaron Schiff published this post looking at how population had changed across the country and compared it to how it had changed for the 20-34 age group.
Young adults represent the future of New Zealand’s economy, so I think it’s interesting to look at what is happening to them over time.
Using Census data I’ve made some dotmaps of population changes between 2013 and 2001. In the following maps, there is one blue dot for each new person in census area units that experienced population growth over this time, and one red dot for each person lost in areas where the population shrank.
In each case the maps compare changes in the total “census usually resident” population with that of young adults aged 20 to 34. People in this age group are generally finishing up education, entering the workforce, starting families, and buying houses. The maps show changes in where people live, which reflects a number of factors including earning prospects and cost of living (among other things).
First, the national picture. Total population increased in all of the major cities, most smaller centres, and many rural areas too. In comparison the increase in young population is more concentrated on urban centres.
There’s a couple of interesting things that really stand out here. There’s been growth in large parts of the country which isn’t unexpected but some areas, particularly the far north, East Cape and parts of the central North Island haven’t done so well. Perhaps more interesting is there’s also a couple of places noticeable that have seen general population increasing while flat or declining young populations. This includes some of NZ’s more popular areas due to climate or scenery such as the Coromandel Peninsula, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Queenstown/Wanaka areas. In addition there seems to be a general decline in the youngish population from rural areas. Back to Aaron’s post:
In the Auckland region, total population increased in almost all areas. The changes in young adult population are very different – a big increase in the CBD but reductions in many areas surrounding the CBD, and growth in outlying areas. I would hypothesise that this reflects housing costs more than anything.
The areas just to the west of the CBD (Freeman’s Bay, Ponsonby, etc) are especially interesting. The total population in these areas grew very little between 2001 and 2013, while the young adult population reduced significantly.
Firstly I’m surprised that some areas have had overall population losses, some like around Glen Innes might be related to a smaller population while Housing NZ start to redevelop their land, something that will almost certainly see the population jump over time. Other areas like that experienced population loss like Herne Bay might be more related to houses being lived in by (wealthier) older couples whose children have left home.
It’s the youngish population that’s seen the most change and what I notice is it’s most prevalent in what are generally higher socio economic areas e.g. both the western and eastern bays, Mt Eden, Devonport, Titirangi. Again to me this likely reflects a combination of factors including:
- Children of Baby boomers who have left home
- Generation Xers (born 1960-1980) who might still live in the area with young families but have obviously aged outside the 20-34 age bracket
- House price rises that have put home ownership out of reach for many younger people in these areas.
As to where the growth in young people has been happening, it’s been incredibly strong in the CBD which reflects the growing number of students who are choosing to live more urban.
All up it’s really interesting to see where the changes are occurring so thanks Aaron. Also if anyone wants to help put the data into an interactive version then please let Aaron know