Household income

With an adequate income, a household can access essential services and items and can participate in social and recreational activities in the community. For families with sufficient income, children are more likely to experience higher educational achievement, higher economic status in their adult life, and better health and wellbeing [5]. It is well known that income disparity exists across ethnic groups in New Zealand [6]. These differences mean that Māori, Asian, and Pacific population groups are likely to be disproportionately affected in terms of the income-related determinants of health and wellbeing.

This indicator presents median equivalised gross (before tax) weekly household income for greater Christchurch and New Zealand, 2008–2017 (excluding investment income). Median gross household income is the dollar amount whereby half the households have an income above that amount, and half the households have an income below that amount (data are ‘equivalised’ based on household composition).

The figure shows that the median equivalised gross weekly household income in greater Christchurch increased steadily, by approximately 25 percent, between the pre-earthquake period (2008 to 2010) and 2014; compared with a 13 percent increase across New Zealand in the same time period. This increase broadly coincided with the upsurge in earthquake recovery and rebuild activities during this period. During 2014, however, the upward trend flattened, and the median weekly income for greater Christchurch now appears to be converging on the New Zealand median income level (in 2014, the difference between greater Christchurch and New Zealand overall was $191 per week and in 2017, $75 per week).

The figure shows a substantial income disparity between Māori and non-Māori ethnic groups in greater Christchurch over time. Gross weekly household income for Māori shows some variability, due to smaller absolute numbers, but there is a picture of lower gross weekly household income (compared with non-Māori) and a flatter rate of increase. From these data, Māori households do not appear to have benefitted from the post-earthquake economic activities in greater Christchurch to the same extent as non-Māori. In 2017, the median equivalised gross weekly household income in greater Christchurch for Māori was substantially below that of non-Māori ($1043 for Māori and $1450 for non-Māori; $407 difference; typically ≈ 20% difference when taken across the last 5 years) [6].

Data Sources

Source: Statistics New Zealand.
Survey/data set: New Zealand Income Survey (NZIS); run annually as a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey during the June quarter (1 April to 30 June). Custom data request for greater Christchurch region.
Source data frequency: Annually.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 23/11/2018