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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2002  
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Contents >> Population >> Population Composition: New Zealanders in Australia

Population Composition: New Zealanders in Australia

New Zealand-born residents in Australia represented 8% of all overseas-born residents in 2000. They were mainly of working age, 62% being aged between 20 and 49 years.

Australia and New Zealand have enjoyed a close relationship since European settlement. That closeness reflects the affinity that developed between two geographically near countries, both settled as British Colonies at similar times in a region far from other British Dominions. Citizens of both countries have enjoyed almost complete freedom of movement between countries. Historically, the pattern of movements can be seen as a response to relative economic conditions in either country. In the post-war years net flows were small and mainly towards New Zealand. However, since the late 1960s the net flow has brought New Zealanders to Australia in increasing numbers.1

The number of New Zealand-born people coming to settle (permanent arrivals) in Australia each year has fluctuated markedly. From 17,400 in 1981, the number decreased to a low of 5,800 in 1984, then recovered in the late 1980s, peaking at 23,500 in 1989. The economic slump in Australia during the early 1990s saw the number drop back again, as low as 6,700 in 1993, before increasing in the late 1990s to 21,900 in 2000. This made New Zealand the largest single source of settler arrivals in 2000 - representing 24% of all settler arrivals.

In 1996, there were an estimated 315,000 New Zealand-born people resident in Australia, a number estimated to have grown to 375,000 by 2000. At this time, New Zealanders made up 8% of the overseas-born population in Australia.


New Zealand-born residents in Australia
The main sources of information on New Zealand-born people living in Australia used in this article were the following ABS data sets: Estimated Resident Population, the Marriages and Divorces collection, the Overseas Arrivals and Departures collection, the monthly Labour Force Survey and its annual supplement on Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Migrants. In addition, information from the 1996 Census has been used.

Estimates of New Zealand-born residents in Australia based on Estimated Resident Population (ERP) include both settlers (permanent arrivals) and those intending to stay for longer than one year (long-term arrivals). ERP estimates by birthplace are based on census counts augmented by overseas arrivals and departures data and mortality data.

AGE/SEX PROFILE OF THE NEW ZEALAND BORN POPULATION AND THE TOTAL AUSTRALIAN POPULATION - 2000

Source: ABS Estimated Resident Population, 2000(p).


A young population
New Zealanders in Australia are predominantly of working age. In 2000, 62% of New Zealand-born residents in Australia were aged from 20 to 49 years: among the total Australian population 45% were in that age range. There were proportionally few New Zealand-born children: 10% were aged under 15 years compared with 20% among all Australian residents. There were also comparatively few New Zealand-born adults aged 65 years and over: 6% compared with 12% among all Australian residents. Many of the differences observed between New Zealand-born residents and all Australian residents can be attributed to this young age structure.


Over half arrived in the last 20 years
The large number of settlers arriving from New Zealand over the past two decades means that a large proportion of New Zealand-born Australian residents are relatively recent arrivals. In 2001, an estimated 66% of New Zealand-born residents aged 15 years and over had arrived in Australia since 1981. Among all overseas-born Australian residents aged 15 years and over, 45% had arrived since 1981.

YEAR OF ARRIVAL(a) - 2001

New Zealand-born
All overseas-born
%
%

Before 1976
18.3
47.5
1976-1980
15.9
7.8
1981-1985
15.6
10.3
1986-1990
19.2
12.8
1991-1995
10.6
9.4
1996-2000
20.4
12.2
Total
100.0
100.0

(a) Of New Zealand born people aged 15 years and over.

Source: ABS Monthly Labour Force Survey, August 2001.


Mainly city dwellers
The 1996 Census found that New Zealand-born residents of Australia lived mainly in major cities, predominantly on the east coast. One-quarter lived in the Sydney/Newcastle/Wollongong region, 24% in Brisbane or the Gold Coast/Tweed region, 12% in Melbourne, 10% in Perth, and a further 6% in other major cities. The remaining 24% lived in areas other than major cities.

Settlers arriving in Australia are asked where they plan to live, though that does not necessarily mean they settle permanently there. Nevertheless, the State or Territory in which New Zealand-born settlers intended to live matched the patterns of residence portrayed by the census.

Recent New Zealand-born settlers continue to be drawn to the eastern States of Queensland and New South Wales. These two States shared equally 72% of arrivals in 1999-2000. A further 17% and 8% intended to live in Victoria and Western Australia respectively.

The attractiveness of particular States to New Zealand-born settlers has changed over time, probably reflecting the influence of State economies and associated job opportunities. Although alternating in their priority, the eastern States of New South Wales and Queensland have consistently been the main destinations of New Zealand-born settlers. These two States together attracted an average of 69% of New Zealand-born settlers each year over the past 20 years. Over the same period Victoria has been the intended destination of between 12% and 18% of New Zealand-born settlers, while Western Australia attracted between 8% and 14%. South Australia has consistently attracted a small proportion of New Zealand-born settlers each year, an average of 3% over the past 20 years.

The intended State of residence of New Zealand-born settlers varied with their age. In 1999–2000, younger New Zealand-born settlers were most likely to state New South Wales, followed by Queensland, as their intended address (44% and 31% respectively of 18-24 year olds). New Zealand-born settlers aged 25-54 years had similar patterns as those already described for all New Zealand-born settlers; that is, they were mainly drawn to both Queensland and New South Wales in similar proportions (36% and 35% respectively). Older New Zealand-born settlers were most likely to state Queensland as their intended address - 57% of those aged 55 years and over. However, this group represented only 7% (1,070) of all adult New Zealand-born settlers in 1999-2000.

MAIN LOCATION OF INTENDED RESIDENCE(a) OF ADULT(b) NEW ZEALAND-BORN PERMANENT ARRIVALS

(a) Overseas arrivals are asked their intended address. This does not necessarily mean they will have settled permanently in that State or Territory.
(b) Aged 18 years and over.

Source: ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departures (cat. no. 3401.0).


Family life
Like most Australians, New Zealanders were most likely to live in a family. In 2001, New Zealand-born men were slightly more likely to be living with a partner (65%) than New Zealand-born women (62%), though women were much more likely to be a lone parent, 12% compared with about 2% of men. Among all Australians, women were also more likely than men to be lone parents, 9% compared with 2%. About half the New Zealand-born with partners had dependent children, slightly more than all Australians. About 11% of New Zealand-born residents lived alone, similar to all Australians, while 9% and 7% of men and women respectively lived in group houses or as boarders - compared with 6% and 4% respectively of all Australians.

In 2000, the marriage rate for both New Zealand-born men (16 per 1,000 men) and women (14 per 1,000 women) was higher than that for those born in Australia (12 per 1,000 for both men and women). This difference in marriage rates is primarily a result of the predominance of young adults among the New Zealand-born population. When standardised by age, the difference almost disappears, with New Zealand-born men having only a slightly higher marriage rate than Australian-born men. Among women, the standardised marriage rate was lower for New Zealand-born women than Australian-born women.

RELATIONSHIP IN HOUSEHOLD - 2001

New Zealand-born
Total Australian population


Males
Females
Males
Females
%
%
%
%

Family member
79.3
81.1
83.0
83.0
    Partner in relationship
65.3
61.7
61.7
58.3
      With dependants
50.8
49.5
47.0
46.3
      Without dependants
49.2
50.5
53.0
53.7
    Lone parent
*2.4
11.9
1.6
9.2
    Non-dependant child
4.7
*2.5
10.9
6.3
    Dependent student
*2.9
*2.6
6.7
6.6
    Other family person
4.1
*2.4
2.1
2.5
Non-family member
20.7
18.9
17.0
17.0
    Lone person
11.4
11.5
10.8
12.6
    Not living alone
9.4
7.4
6.2
4.4
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

Source: ABS Monthly Labour Force Survey, August 2001.


In 2000, New Zealand-born residents who married tended to be older than Australian-born residents who married. The median age at marriage was 32.1 years for grooms and 30.0 years for brides, compared with 29.7 years for Australian-born grooms and 27.8 years for brides. New Zealand-born residents were more likely to be remarrying than Australian-born residents. In 2000, 28% and 26% of New Zealand-born brides and grooms respectively were remarrying compared with 21% and 22% of Australian-born brides and grooms.

New Zealand-born residents marrying in 2000 were more likely to use a civil celebrant than a religious celebrant. Two-thirds of the brides and nearly two-thirds of the grooms were married by a civil celebrant. This is consistent with the relatively high proportion (28%) of New Zealand-born residents who stated they had no religion in the 1996 Census; which may also be related to their relatively young age profile. Just under half of Australian-born brides and grooms marrying in 2000 used a civil celebrant.

MARRIAGES AND DIVORCES - 2000

New Zealand-born
Australia-born


Units
Males
Females
Males
Females

Registered marriages
    Marriage rate
per 1000
16.2
14.4
11.6
11.6
    Age standardised marriage rate
per 1000
12.5
11.4
12.1
12.6
    Civil celebrant
%
63.5
65.9
49.3
48.5
    Median age at marriage
years
32.1
30.0
29.7
27.8
    Proportion that were remarriages
%
27.8
25.9
22.0
21.0
    Median duration of marriage
years
12.0
11.8
11.7
11.7
Divorces
    Divorce rate
per 1000
7.1
7.0
4.6
4.8
    Age standardised divorce rate
per 1000
5.2
5.1
4.8
5.1
    Divorces involving children
%
51.8
51.9
55.7
55.6
    Median age at divorce (decree made absolute)
years
42.7
38.9
40.8
38.0

Source: Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2000 (ABS cat. no. 3310.0).


In 2000, New Zealand-born women had a similar total fertility rate (1.77) to all women in Australia (1.75). The total fertility rate indicates the average number of children born alive to a woman over her lifetime if she followed the pattern of births by age prevalent in that year, in this case 2000. The median age of New Zealand-born mothers in 2000 was the same as that for all Australian mothers, 30 years, but slightly younger than that for all overseas born mothers, 31 years.

The proportion of New Zealand-born mothers who were not married (44%) was considerably higher than for all mothers (29%) and all overseas-born women (20%). Although the majority of these unmarried women were probably in de facto relationships, the proportion of births in which paternity was not acknowledged in 2000 was 5% among New Zealand-born mothers, compared with 4% for all women and 3% for all overseas-born women.

FERTILITY - 2000

Females

Units
New Zealand- born
Total overseas-born
Total Australia

Total fertility ratebabies per female
1.77
1.73
1.75
Median age of mother at time of birthyears
29.8
31.3
29.8
Married mother (registered)%
56.4
80.4
70.6
Unmarried mother%
43.6
19.6
29.4
    Paternity acknowledged
%
38.9
17.0
25.9
    Paternity not acknowledged
%
4.7
2.7
3.5

(a) Refers to persons whose registered marital status is 'Never married', 'Widowed' or 'Divorced', including those who are living with a de facto partner'.

Source: Births, 2000 (ABS cat. no. 3301.0).


Citizenship
Like other settlers, after a period of two years' residence, a New Zealand settler can apply for Australian citizenship (new legislation introduced in February 2001 means that some New Zealand settlers will need to apply for permanent residency if they wish to become Australian citizens). In 1999-2000, 6,700 New Zealanders were granted Australian citizenship - 9% of all citizenships granted in that year. New Zealanders were the third most common nationality to be granted citizenship in that year, coming after British (21% of all grants) and Chinese nationals (11% of all grants).

However, the 1996 Census found that New Zealand-born residents had one of the lowest rates of citizenship (32%). Residents born in mainly English speaking countries had comparatively low citizenship rates, 61% for those born in the United Kingdom and 57% for those born in Canada. In comparison, the rate was 96% among Greece-born residents.


Divorce
In 2000, New Zealand-born residents had a divorce rate of 7 per 1,000 for both men and women, higher than that for Australian-born residents, 5 per 1,000 for both men and women. This difference was mainly due to the relative youth of New Zealand-born residents since, when age standardised, the rates were similar - though slightly higher for New Zealand-born men compared with Australian-born men.

The divorce of a New Zealand-born resident was slightly less likely to involve children than the divorce of an Australian-born resident (52% and 56% of divorces respectively). The median age at divorce (decree made absolute) was slightly higher for New Zealand-born divorcees (42.7 years for men and 38.9 years for women) compared with Australian-born divorcees (40.8 years for men and 38.0 years for women). Since median duration of marriage was 12 years for both sexes in both groups, the difference in age at divorce probably reflects the difference in age at marriage.

Skills and employment
The predominance of working age New Zealand-born residents and the relationship between Trans-Tasman immigration and economic conditions1 suggests a group of migrants with strong links to the labour force. Their high rates of labour force participation confirm this relationship (to participate in the labour force an individual must be working or actively seeking and available to work).

In November 1999, 90% of male and 67% of female New Zealand-born residents who had arrived in Australia after 1980 aged 18 years and over were participating in the labour force. Among all overseas-born people who arrived after 1980 aged 18 years and over, the rates were lower, 82% for men and 57% for women. In November 1999, the overall level of labour force participation in Australia for people aged 15 years and over was 72% for men and 54% for women.

MIGRANTS WHO ARRIVED AFTER 1980(a): LABOUR FORCE AND EDUCATION - 1999

New Zealand-born
Total overseas-born


Males
Females
Males
Females
%
%
%
%

Unemployment rate
*2.7
5.4
4.7
4.6
Participation rate
89.5
67.1
81.5
57.1
Employed before migration
84.8
66.1
73.3
57.1
Had tertiary qualifications
73.0
47.3
79.4
61.7
Arrived with tertiary qualifications
82.3
75.9
78.8
76.0
Gained tertiary qualifications since arrival
17.7
24.1
21.2
24.0

(a) Aged 18 years and over at arrival.

Source: Labour Force Status and other Characteristics of Migrants, 1999 (ABS cat. no. 6250.0).


The unemployment rate among New Zealand-born residents who arrived after 1980 aged 18 years and over was 4%, a lower rate than recorded for all overseas-born residents (5%). For comparison, the unemployment rate for all people aged 15 years and over in the Australian labour force in November 1999 was 6%.

Male New Zealand-born residents who arrived after 1980 were more likely to have tertiary qualifications than female New Zealand-born residents (73% of men and 47% of women). However, New Zealand-born residents who arrived after 1980 were less likely overall to possess tertiary qualifications than all migrants who had arrived after 1980 (79% of men and 62% of women). Most New Zealand-born men and women with tertiary qualifications had arrived with their qualification (82% of men and 76% of women).

EMPLOYED PEOPLE: SELECTED INDUSTRIES(a) - 2001

New Zealand-born
Total Australia


Males
Females
Males
Females
%
%
%
%

Property and Business Services
14.2
17.6
Retail Trade
13.0
17.6
Manufacturing
16.0
8.4
Manufacturing
15.7
7.2
Retail Trade
10.1
13.2
Property and Business Services
11.3
11.8
Construction
17.4
*1.9
Health and Community Services
3.9
17.1
Health and Community Services
*3.3
15.7
Construction
11.6
2.1
Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants
*3.5
10.4
Education
4.3
10.9
Total of selected industries
64.6
67.2
Total of selected industries
59.9
66.7

(a) Top six industries ranked on New Zealand-born people and Australian people respectively.

Source: ABS Monthly Labour Force Survey, August 2001.


In August 2001, the ranking of industries in which employed New Zealand-born residents worked was different to that observed among all employed people. The six industries in which New Zealand-born workers were most likely to work were, in descending order: Property and business services, Manufacturing, Retail trade, Construction, Health and community services, and Accommodation, cafes and restaurants. Among all Australian workers, Retail trade was the most common industry, followed in descending order by Manufacturing, Property and business services, Health and community services, Construction, and Education.

In August 2001, the proportion of New Zealand-born employed men working in the Construction industry was notably greater than the proportion of all employed men working in that industry: 17% compared with 12%; as was the proportion of employed women in the Property and business services industry, 18% compared with 12% among all employed women. Employed New Zealand-born women were less likely to work in the Retail trade industry than all employed women, 13% compared with 18% of all employed women.

EMPLOYED PEOPLE: OCCUPATIONS - 2001

New Zealand-born
Total Australia


Males
Females
Males
Females
%
%
%
%

Managers and Administrators
7.4
*4.3
10.2
4.6
Professionals
14.2
19.2
17.1
20.7
Associate Professionals
12.6
11.7
12.8
10.2
Tradespersons and Related Workers
22.8
*3.9
20.5
3.0
Advanced Clerical and Service Workers
**0.5
10.3
0.9
8.9
Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service Workers
7.3
27.0
8.2
28.4
Intermediate Production and Transport Workers
16.4
*2.9
14.0
2.2
Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service Workers
6.2
11.9
6.1
14.4
Labourers and Related Workers
12.6
8.7
10.1
7.7
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

Source: ABS Monthly Labour Force Survey, August 2001.


Although the occupation mix of employed New Zealand-born residents was similar to that of all Australians, the mix was slightly skewed towards lower skilled occupations. In August 2001, employed New Zealand-born residents were slightly under-represented among male Managers and administrators (7% compared with 10% of all employed men); male Professionals (14% compared with 17% of all employed men) and female Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (12% compared with 14% for all employed women).

Employed New Zealand-born residents were slightly over-represented among male Tradespersons and related workers (23% compared with 21% of all employed men), male Intermediate production and transport workers (16% compared with 14% of all employed men), and male Labourers and related workers (13% compared with 10% of all employed men).


Trans-Tasman travel arrangements2
The 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement has allowed Australian and New Zealand citizens to freely enter each other's country to visit, live or work, without any need to obtain authority.

From September 1994, all non-citizens residing lawfully in Australia were required to hold visas (Special Category temporary residence Visa), including New Zealand citizens. For New Zealanders this involves a stamp in a valid New Zealand passport, given at immigration clearance (subject to health and character concerns).

On 26 February 2001, the Australian and New Zealand governments announced a new bilateral social security agreement. Some New Zealand citizens are now required to obtain Australian permanent residence if they wish to access certain social security payments (subject to the two year waiting period for most payments), sponsor family members for permanent residence or take out Australian citizenship.


Endnotes
1 Carmichael, G. 1996, Trans-Tasman Migration in Population Shift, Mobility and Change in Australia, Edited by Newton, P. W., and Bell, M., Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

2 Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, 2001. New Zealanders in Australia, 2001, Fact Sheet 6, Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Canberra.


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