Social wellbeing of selected demographic groups

Social wellbeing outcomes for Pacific peoples

Health outcomes show a mixed picture for Pacific peoples. Life expectancy at birth increased for Pacific females and males between 2005–2007 and 2012–2014, largely driven by lower death rates of people aged 60–79 years. While higher than for Māori, Pacific peoples’ life expectancy at birth in 2012–2014 was still lower than European/Other and Asian rates.

Self-ratings of health showed small increases between 2006/2007 and 2013/2014, with Pacific peoples having a similar rate to Māori in 2013/2014. There were also declines in the proportion of Pacific peoples who smoked cigarettes and drank in potentially hazardous ways between 2006/2007 and 2013/2014. Pacific adults had the highest rates of obesity of all ethnic groups over the four health surveys, though the Pacific rates showed only small increases from 2006/2007. The proportion of Pacific adults who met physical activity guidelines declined between 2006/2007 and 2013/2014. In 2013/2014, Pacific peoples had the highest proportion, of all the ethnic groups, of people aged 15 years and over who experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress.

There have been improvements in the knowledge and skills area for Pacific peoples. The level of participation in early childhood education generally showed continual increases between 2000 and 2014, and the number of school leavers with higher qualifications increased substantially between 2009 and 2014. There were also increases in the proportion of Pacific peoples who attained NCEA Level 2 and Bachelor’s degrees and above between 1986 and 2014, though they still had the lowest proportions of all ethnic groups in 2014.

In terms of paid work, Pacific peoples, along with Māori, had consistently higher unemployment rates and lower employment rates than the total population between 2009 and 2014. There was an increase in Pacific peoples’ unemployment rate between 2008 and 2013, and a general decline in their employment rate between 2008 and 2012. Pacific peoples had the lowest real median hourly earnings of all ethnic groups in the June 2014 quarter, with earnings remaining essentially unchanged in the last five years.

The proportion of Pacific peoples living in crowded housing decreased between 1986 and 2013 though the proportion was still high compared with other ethnic groups in 2013. Pacific peoples had the second highest averaged rate in 2011–2014 of people living in households where more than 30 percent of disposable income was spent on housing costs. Pacific peoples were also the most likely of all ethnic groups to face material hardship (using 2013–2014 averaged data). Pacific peoples’ median household income has been flat to declining since 2007.

Politically, the level of representation of Pacific peoples in government increased between 2008 and 2014. In 2014, there was a record number of MPs who identified as Pacific. In 2014, Pacific peoples had lower rates of reported discrimination compared with Māori and Asian, with Pacific peoples more likely to report discrimination in a public place or on the street than the other ethnic groups.

Pacific peoples’ satisfaction with leisure time increased between 2008 and 2012, while attendance and participation in arts and cultural activities increased between 2005 and 2014. Pacific peoples had the highest proportion of all the ethnic groups for these three measures in the latest reporting period.

Looking at the safety area, Pacific peoples had the lowest rate of feeling safe while walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark in 2014. They also had lower levels of trust in people compared with people in the Asian ethnic group and European/Others.