More New Zealanders identify with ethnic roots, new study shows

by Ray Clancy on June 5, 2015

An increasing proportion of New Zealanders identify with Māori, Asian, and Pacific ethnicities according to a new ethnic population study.

Businessman Leader Holding New Zealnd Flag

Population projections can assist planning in areas like education and health where different ethnic populations can have different needs

The proportion identifying as Māori is projected to grow from 16% in 2013 to 17% in the mid-2020s, and to nearly 20% in 2038, while those identifying with an Asian ethnicity will grow from 12% in 2013 to 17% in the mid-2020s, and to 21% in 2038.

The study from Statistics New Zealand also shows that those identifying with a Pacific ethnicity will grow from 8% in 2013 to 9% in the mid-2020s, and to 11% in 2038.

The number of people identifying with a European ethnicity or New Zealander is projected to increase, but at a relatively slow rate. As a result, the proportion identifying with these ethnicities is projected to drop from 75% in 2013 to 70% in the mid-2020s, and to 66% in 2038.

Another 1% of the population currently identify with Middle Eastern, Latin American, or African ethnicities.

‘There is considerable overlap of these ethnic populations. People can and do identify with multiple ethnicities, especially people aged under 30 years,’ said population statistics manager Vina Cullum.

The different projected growth rates reflect a combination of different patterns of fertility, migration, age structure, and ethnic identification.

‘Ethnic projections are of more than just academic interest. They inform New Zealanders about our changing demographic picture. They help ethnic communities understand their own changing populations. And they assist planning in areas such as education and health where different ethnic populations can have different needs,’ added Cullum.

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