Highest qualification

A higher level of formal education is associated with lower unemployment rates and higher income [11] as well as better self-rated health. Changes in the educational attainment of the population also provide information about access to education and the equity or fairness of the education system. Across New Zealand, employment rates are highest among people who have a tertiary education [11].

This indicator presents the distribution of the population aged 15 years and older by highest qualification, using census data.

For the approximately 80 percent of people aged 15 years and over with a qualification, the distribution of highest qualifications gained is similar between greater Christchurch and New Zealand. For greater Christchurch, 39.2 percent of people aged 15 years and over hold a level 1–3 qualification (including overseas secondary school qualifications), 18.9 percent hold level 4-6 qualifications, and 24.4 percent of people aged 15 years and over hold bachelor’s or higher-level qualifications.

When the distribution of highest qualifications gained is broken down by Territorial Authority (TA), similar levels of overall achievement are evident at the 1–6 certificate/diploma levels. However, some TA-level differences are evident for low versus higher educational attainment levels. For example, Waimakariri District has the highest proportion with no qualification, while Christchurch City has the highest percentage with a Bachelor’s degree or higher qualification.

In 2018, the Asian ethnic group had the highest proportion of people with a formal qualification in greater Christchurch, at 91 percent. Just under 9 percent of the Asian population in greater Christchurch had no qualification compared to 18.2 percent of European/Pākehā and 23.9 percent of Māori. Further, the proportions of Māori and Pacific with qualifications at Bachelor’s degree or higher were substantially lower than for the Asian and European/Pākehā ethnic groups.

In 2018 the proportion of women with any qualification was equal to that of men (approximately 82%, both in greater Christchurch and nationally). In greater Christchurch, higher proportions of women have Bachelor’s degree or higher qualifications compared to men. Note that Level 4 certificate qualifications include many trade qualifications (historically higher for men). These patterns are generally consistent with the national picture (data not shown).

Data Sources

Source: Statistics New Zealand.
Survey/data set: Census of Population and Dwellings. Access publicly available data from the Statistics New Zealand website
Source data frequency: Census conducted every 5 years.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 07/04/2022