Dunedin is poorer than New Zealand's other major centres
and its labour force is shrinking, census data released
The release of more detailed information about New Zealand
and its regions yesterday comes after Statistics New Zealand
released data in October showing Queenstown Lakes District
had pushed Otago's population beyond 200,000 for the first
The detailed data did not paint a pretty economic picture for
The city has a median income of $23,300 and an unemployment
rate of 7.5% - compared with national rates of $28,500 and
7.1% respectively. Dunedin's median income was also
significantly lower than other major centres.
Auckland's median income was $29,600, Hamilton's $27,700,
Tauranga's $27,100, Palmerston North's $27,000, Wellington
City's $37,900 and Christchurch City's $29,800.
Dunedin's labour force shrank from 61,863 in the 2006 census
to 60,585 this year.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said
the figures showed Dunedin - even accounting for the city's
large student population - was lagging behind New Zealand's
other major centres.
''Some of these statistics show how far [Dunedin] has slipped
in terms of our economic relevance nationally.
''That's the cold, hard reality of these figures. We
absolutely need to increase our jobs ... and business
opportunities,'' Mr Christie said.
Mr Christie and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the figures
highlighted the importance of the city's economic development
strategy, which aimed to add 10,000 jobs and $10,000 in extra
income per person in 10 years.
''What we need to do as a city ... is move into the kinds of
businesses that have higher-value jobs,'' Mr Cull said.
He believed the low median income figure, apart from being
affected by the student population, reflected the fact the
city was moving away from the ''traditional manufacturing
businesses that sustained the city up to a few decades ago''.
The decreasing labour force showed working-age people were
leaving the city.
''We are thin in the middle,'' he said.
The figures showed the Otago region was performing better
than Dunedin economically, with an unemployment rate of 5.56%
and a median income of $26,300.
The richest part of Otago was the Queenstown-Lakes district,
with a median income of $35,200, followed by Clutha
($29,900), Central Otago ($28,200), Waitaki ($25,300) and
Mr Christie said it was not surprising Queenstown-Lakes
District was the wealthiest part of the region.
''It's not hard to see that evidenced in the types of cars
and houses that people have got.''
In releasing the results, government statistician Liz
MacPherson said declining home ownership rates in Otago
followed a nationwide trend.
''The 2013 census results showed the region's rate of home
ownership was 68% in 2013, down just slightly from 69% in
2006,'' Ms MacPherson said.
Nationally, home ownership fell from 67% in 2006 to 65% this
Also reflecting a nationwide trend, the number of occupied
dwellings in Otago had increased by 5040 since the last
census, she said.
Other key points about the Otago region from the 2013 census
results included. -
• Otago has the lowest percentage of Maori among its
population, with only 7.5% identifying themselves as Maori.
• In 2013, 20% of people in Otago at census time aged 15
years or over said they had a university degree or
equivalent, compared with 16% 2006.
• After English, the next most commonly spoken languages in
the Otago region are French (1.7%) and te reo Maori (1.6%).