Social wellbeing of selected demographic groups

Social wellbeing outcomes for the Asian ethnic group

Not all indicators in the Social Report include information for the Asian ethnic group, and in some cases the group is included in the ‘Other’ ethnic category. The diverse and changing nature of the Asian ethnic group also means results may not be reflective of the entire population, and comparisons should therefore be treated with caution.

Asian people generally had good health outcomes. Asian females had the highest life expectancy at birth of all ethnic groups in 2012–2014. Asian people also reported low levels of psychological distress, with proportions decreasing between 2006/2007 and 2013/2014. Obesity rates were well below those of other ethnic groups, although rates rose between 2006/2007 and 2013/2014.

Asian people also had the lowest rates of smoking and were least likely of all ethnic groups to be potentially hazardous drinkers in 2013/2014. Furthermore, these rates have been decreasing over time. The only Health indicator with less favourable outcomes when compared to the other ethnic groups was participation in physical activities – the Asian ethnic group was the least likely of all ethnic groups to meet physical activity guidelines, with rates remaining relatively stable between 2006/2007 and 2013/2014.

Those in the Asian ethnic group had high rates of early childhood education, second only to the European group in 2014. They also consistently had the highest proportion of school leavers with NCEA L2, and the highest proportion of the adult population with a qualification of at least NCEA L2 over time. Both of these proportions have been increasing over time.

The Asian unemployment rate rose following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The employment rate has increased since 2010, and is the second highest behind the European/Other rate, though the large gap between these groups remains. Median hourly earnings for Asian people have been relatively unchanged since 2009, and they ranked second highest along with Māori in 2014. The Asian ethnic group had the third lowest rate of household crowding in 2014, with the rate reducing since 1991.

The Asian ethnic group is included in the ‘Other’ ethnic group for the population with low incomes and material hardship indicators. Median household earnings for the Other group were relatively stable since 2007, and remained lower than for the European group in 2014 but higher than for Māori and Pacific peoples. Using the less severe threshold averaged over 2013 and 2014, the proportion of people facing material hardship for the Other ethnic group was considerably lower than for Pacific peoples and Māori.

The Asian ethnic group was the least likely of all ethnic groups to vote in the 2011 General Election, but this was influenced by the large migrant population within this group. Asian people continue to be underrepresented in government, though this proportion has doubled between 2005 and 2014.

Along with Māori, those in the Asian ethnic group were more likely to say they were discriminated against, with race or ethnic group cited as the most common reason in 2014. Along with Pacific peoples, they were less likely than other ethnic groups to say it was very easy or easy to be themselves in New Zealand in 2014, and the least likely to say they would feel very comfortable or comfortable with new neighbours from any of the selected minority groups. Despite this, they had high levels of trust in others and were the least likely to report being a victim of a crime in 2014 with rates falling since 2008.

Those in the Asian ethnic group were the least likely of the ethnic groups to report volunteering across all surveys from 2008 to 2014, and the least likely to attend and actively participate in arts and cultural events, although active participation has increased since 2005. As was the case for other ethnic groups, access to the internet improved for the Asian ethnic group since 2001, and this group had the highest access rates of any ethnic group in 2013.