Dunedin younger, poorer, more educated than average

Students from the University of Otago on graduation day. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Students from the University of Otago on graduation day. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A detailed look at last year's census shows Dunedin's population is younger, poorer and better educated than the New Zealand population overall.

An Otago Daily Times report after Statistics New Zealand released extensive census data last month showed Dunedin, with a median income of $23,300, was poorer than any of the other main centres. Also, the city was poorer than the nation as a whole, which had a median income of $28,500.

Further examination of census data revealed more about what makes this city different from the rest of the cities. Dunedin had the largest proportion of people aged between 15 and 24 of all the main centres.

A total of 25,671 people in Dunedin were aged between 15 and 24 - making up 21.35% of the population, compared to 13.82% of New Zealand's overall population.

Dunedin had the highest proportion of 15 to 24-year-olds of all the main centres. Wellington was next with 17.74%, followed by Hamilton at 17.71%, Auckland at 14.92% and Christchurch at 14.68%.

However, despite the larger proportion of young people, Dunedin still had a slightly greater percentage of people past the retirement age, with 14.88% over the age of 65, compared to 14.31% nationally.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the large proportion of young people in the city was not a surprise, given that tertiary education was the ''biggest game in town''.

One thing Dunedin needed to improve was getting people in the 15 to 24 age bracket to stay in the city once they had graduated, Mr Cull said.

''The way we develop our city should be aimed at what sort of things does that age group value and would encourage them to stay here rather than go somewhere else,'' he said.

The census also showed a greater proportion of Dunedin's population were getting by on less than $15,000 - 31.87% compared to 26.03% nationally.

There were also proportionally fewer people earning big dollars, with 3702 (3.67%) earning $100,001 or more, compared to 181,170 (5.37%) nationally.

The median income for people aged 20 to 24 in the city was $10,400, compared to a national figure of $17,900, which goes some way to explaining why Dunedin had a lower median income than the New Zealand median.

People from Dunedin were also more likely not to be in the workforce - 36.10% compared to 31.34% nationally.

Other statistics. -
• People from the city were more likely to be qualified than the overall population. Only 18.1% had no qualification, compared to a national rate of 20.94%.

• Despite the large number of students training to get degrees, people from Dunedin were also more likely to have a bachelor's degree or higher -
22.66% compared to 20.04% nationally.

• The census also gave a snapshot of how access to technology was changing. The proportion of Dunedin households with access to a cellphones (83.44%) almost overtook fixed telephone access (85.05%).

• The proportion of households with internet access climbed from 60.59% in 2006 to 77.79% last year.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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