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Quarter of a Million People ID as Asian


This is one of a series of census snapshots designed to inform New Zealanders of some key findings from the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings. Further information is available on our website: http:// http://www.stats.govt.nz.

Overview Close to a quarter of a million people identified with one or more of the Asian ethnic groups in the 2001 Census, according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. The Asian ethnic group comprised 6.6 percent of the usually resident population in 2001 compared with 3 percent in 1991.

Within the broad category of 'Asian', there are many individual ethnic groups with distinct characteristics. The largest was the Chinese ethnic group accounting for 44 percent of the Asian population, followed by the Indian ethnic group at 26 percent, Korean (8 percent), Filipino (5 percent), Japanese (4 percent), Sri Lankan (3 percent), Cambodian (2 percent), and Thai (2 percent).

Over three-quarters (78 percent) of the New Zealand resident Asian population were born overseas – an increase from 71 percent in 1991. Of the 183,615 Asian people who were born overseas, nearly three-quarters had lived in New Zealand for less than 10 years.

One-fifth of the Asian population were in the 15-24 years age group in 2001 (compared with 14 percent of the total New Zealand population), and 60 percent of Asian people in this age group said they had participated in a full-time or part-time study course in the four weeks preceding the 2001 Census (compared with 44 percent of the total New Zealand population).

Asian People Asian ethnic groups

6.6 percent of the usually resident population identified with one or more of the Asian ethnic

l groups in the 2001 Census (237,459 people). In 1991, 3 percent of the population (99,756 people) identified with one or more of the Asian ethnic groups. Within the broad category of 'Asian', there are many individual ethnic groups with distinct

l characteristics. In the 2001 Census, 44 percent identified with the Chinese ethnic group, 26 percent with the Indian ethnic group, 8 percent Korean, 5 percent Filipino, 4 percent Japanese, 3 percent Sri Lankan, 2 percent Cambodian, 2 percent Thai, and 8 percent with other Asian ethnic groups. (Note that people could give more than one response; therefore, these percentages do not add to 100.)

Selected Asian Ethnic Group Populations, 1991 and 2001

Ethnic Group 1991 - 2001 - Change New Zealand-born Chinese 15,264 - 25,473 - 10,209 Overseas-born Chinese 28,401 - 78,519 - 50,118 Total Chinese 44,793 - 104,583 - 59,790 New Zealand-born Indian 9,501 - 17,550 - 8,049 Overseas-born Indian 20,517 - 43,923 - 23,406 Total Indian 30,606 - 61,803 - 31,197 Korean 930 - 19,023 - 18,093 Filipino 4,917 - 11,091 - 6,174 Japanese 2,970 - 10,002 - 7,032 Sri Lankan 2,406 - 6,036 - 3,630 Cambodian 4,320 - 5,265 - 945 Thai 1,047 - 4,554 - 3,507

One in 10 people identifying with the Asian ethnic group also identified with a non-Asian

l ethnic group such as European, Mäori or Pacific peoples. In 2001, over three-quarters (78 percent) of the New Zealand resident Asian population were born overseas – up from 71 percent in 1991.

Of the 183,615 Asian people who were born overseas, nearly three-quarters had lived in New Zealand for less than 10 years.

Of those Asian people who had been living in New Zealand for less than 10 years, over half (55 percent) were born in North-East Asia, while a further 18 percent were born in South-East Asia, and 15 percent were born in Southern Asia. Females comprised 54 percent of those who had arrived in New Zealand over the last decade.

Almost two-thirds of the Asian population lived in the Auckland urban area with the majority residing in central and southern Auckland. A further 11 percent lived in the Wellington urban area, and 7 percent lived in the Christchurch urban area.

The Asian ethnic group is relatively youthful compared with the total New Zealand population. In 2001, 21 percent of the Asian population was in the 15-24 years age group, compared with 14 percent of the total New Zealand population.

Sixty percent of Asian people in the 15-24 years age group said they had participated in a full-time or part-time study course in the four weeks preceding the 2001 Census, compared with 44 percent of the total New Zealand population.

Of the 55,717 applications approved by the New Zealand Immigration Service for student residence in year to June 2001, 33 percent were from China and 16 percent were from South Korea. A further 22 percent were from Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Hong Kong combined.

The relatively high proportion of Asian people who were studying is reflected in their low participation in the labour force. Just 57 percent of Asian adults were either in paid employment, or available and looking for paid employment in the week preceding the 2001 Census, compared with 67 percent of the total New Zealand population. Reflecting their younger age structure, those in the Asian ethnic group were more likely than the total New Zealand population to hold a degree or higher level qualification: 23 percent versus 12 percent respectively.

Those Asian people in employment were marginally more likely to be working in white collar occupations: 43 percent of Asian adults worked as legislators, administrators and managers; professionals; or technicians and associate professionals, compared with 40 percent of the total New Zealand population.

The median annual income of Asian people aged 15 years and over was $10,400 in the year to March 2001, compared with $18,500 for the total New Zealand population. The income difference reflects the younger age structure of the Asian population, the high proportion studying, and their lower labour force participation.

Those in the Asian population were far more likely than the total New Zealand population to live in a household with access to the Internet (62 percent and 43 percent respectively).

Chinese ethnic group

The Chinese ethnic group is the largest Asian ethnic group, comprising 44 percent of the Asian population and 3 percent of the total New Zealand population in 2001.

One-quarter of those identifying with the Chinese ethnic group were born in New Zealand.

Of the 78,519 people in the Chinese ethnic group who were born overseas, 12 percent had lived in New Zealand for less than one year. The majority of these people were under 25 years of age.

Out of all the Asian ethnic groups, the Chinese ethnic group experienced the largest numerical increase in population between 1991 and 2001, up 59,787 or 133 percent.

The median annual income of the New Zealand-born Chinese population ($20,200) was higher than the median annual income for the overseas-born Chinese population $7,900) and the total New Zealand population ($18,500). This reflects the higher labour force participation rate of New Zealand-born Chinese (75 percent) compared with both the overseas-born Chinese population (45 percent) and the total New Zealand population (67 percent).

Indian ethnic group

The Indian ethnic group had the second highest numerical increase in population between 1991 and 2001 (after the Chinese ethnic group), up 31,194 or 102 percent. Around 3 in every 10 people (29 percent) identifying with the Indian ethnic group were born in New Zealand, the highest proportion among all the Asian ethnic groups.

More than half (53 percent) of the overseas-born Indian population were born outside of the Asia region. This was the lowest proportion born outside Asia of all the Asian ethnic groups.

At 77 percent, the New Zealand-born Indian population had the highest labour force participation rate of all the Asian ethnic groups.

Korean ethnic group

Out of all the Asian ethnic groups, the Korean group experienced the largest percentage increase in population between 1991 and 2001. There were 19,023 people who identified with the Korean ethnic group in 2001, more than 20 times the 930 people who identified with this group in 1991.

Just 5 percent of those identifying with the Korean ethnic group were born in New Zealand. qqqqqqFilipino ethnic group

Around 2 out of every 3 people identifying with the Filipino ethnic group were women (64 percent). Of all the Asian ethnic groups, the Filipino ethnic group had the highest proportion of women.

Out of all the Asian ethnic groups, adults in the Filipino ethnic group had the highest proportion of people with bachelor or higher degree qualifications (41 percent). Women were also more likely than men in this ethnic group to hold a degree (42 percent and 39 percent respectively).

Japanese ethnic group

A relatively high proportion of people in the Japanese ethnic group had household access to the Internet in comparison with the total New Zealand population (65 percent and 43 percent respectively).

Japanese people were more likely to live in areas outside the Auckland urban area than people in the other major Asian ethnic groups – 59 percent lived outside Auckland urban area compared with just 37 percent of the total Asian ethnic group. Nineteen percent of Japanese people lived in the Christchurch urban area.

Sri Lankan ethnic group

Out of all the Asian ethnic groups, those people identifying with the Sri Lankan ethnic group were most likely to hold a formal educational qualification (97 percent).

Sri Lankan people had the highest levels of household Internet access of all the Asian ethnic groups (78 percent).

Cambodian ethnic group

In the 10 years between 1991 and 2001, the number of Cambodian people living in New Zealand has increased by 948 or 22 percent to reach 5,265 in 2001.

A relatively low proportion of Cambodians were studying in the four weeks preceding the 2001 Census, compared with other Asian ethnic groups (19 percent versus 26 percent). The relatively low proportion studying, coupled with the high proportion of permanent residents coming to New Zealand under the 'family sponsored scheme' (97 percent in the year to June 2001), suggests many Cambodians have come to New Zealand for family reunification reasons.

Thai ethnic group

The Thai ethnic group had the second highest percentage increase in population between 1991 and 2001 (after the Korean ethnic group). There were 4,554 people who identified with the Thai ethnic group in 2001, over four times the 1,047 people who identified with this group in 1991.

Women in the Thai ethnic group were more likely than men in this ethnic group to hold a degree (17 percent and 14 percent respectively).

More information

These results come from the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings conducted by Statistics New Zealand.

This release and other 2001 Census releases, along with additional information, are available free on the Statistics New Zealand website: www.stats.govt.nz, under "Census 2001". You are welcome to reproduce and publish this information provided you acknowledge Statistics New Zealand as the source. The counts for this 2001 Census Snapshot are taken from tables prepared for a series of topic-based reports that have been published since 28 March 2002.

The counts for this 2001 Census Snapshot are taken from tables prepared for the Asian Peoples report published 29 October 2002.

To discuss the availability of further information from the 2001 Census or other collections, contact our Information Centre by telephoning: Auckland 09 920 2100 Wellington 04 931 4600 Christchurch 03 964 8700 or emailing info@stats.govt.nz.

The sixteenth 2001 Census Snapshot – Iwi – will be published on 19 November 2002.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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