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New Zealand Children Studied

New Zealand Now Children

A new report on New Zealand's children released by Statistics New Zealand reveals a diverse population undergoing significant changes.

New Zealand Now: Children describes changes in the ethnic make-up of the child population, the type of families in which children are being raised and the economic circumstances of children's lives. It also presents information on health and educational issues of special relevance to children.

As tomorrow's adults, the foundation that children have in life and the opportunities and prospects that are available to them are critical to the country's future, Deputy Government Statistician Dianne Macaskill said.

"Therefore, a proper understanding of the lives and characteristics of this group is of importance not only in respect of contemporary issues but also in terms of New Zealand's future direction."

"New Zealand Now - Children will make a significant contribution to advancing public understanding of the position of children. It will also be a valuable resource for those involved in addressing important issues in children's lives," she said.

Among the key findings presented in the report are:

Children will make up a smaller share of the New Zealand population in the coming decades, declining from 23 per cent in 1996 to 15 per cent in 2051.

By 2051 over half of all children in New Zealand will be of Mäori or Pacific Islands ethnicity.

The growth in the number of children living in sole-parent families is slowing, with only a 2 percentage point increase between 1991 and 1996.

An increasing proportion of children in two-parent families have parents who live in a de facto relationship.

The proportion of children without a parent in paid work increased from 14 per cent in 1986 to 23 per cent in 1996. A total of 94,000 children, or 11 per cent of all children, have a disability of some kind.

Participation in early childhood education is increasing.

New Zealand Now: Children is available from Statistics New Zealand and selected bookshops for $24.95.

Diane Macaskill

Deputy Government Statistician

22 June 1999

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