Overview of personal, family and household income, geographic deprivation, and household expenditure.

Personal Income

The city's median personal income was $29,800 in 2013, which was higher than the New Zealand median of $28,500.

This was the first census period where the median personal income was higher in Christchurch than for all of New Zealand. This data is for the working age population only. When adjusted for inflation, the median personal income in Christchurch increased from $23,400 in 2006 to $24,850 in 2013, an increase of 6%. The largest inter-census increase for the city was 16%, between 2001 and 2006. 

Chart personal median income

Inflation adjusted personal median income, 1991-2013

Areas with low incomes

Areas near the university had amongst the lowest incomes in the city. Over half of the working age population in the following area units had an annual income of less than $20,000 in 2013: Paparua (66%), Ilam (61%), Upper Riccarton (58%), Riccarton West (58%), Wharenui (54%) and Aranui (51%).

map of personal income

Personal income less than $20,000 per year, 2013

Source of Income

In 2013, the most common source of income for Christchurch City's working age population was from wages and salary, with 62% of the working age population receiving at least one form of income from this source. This has increased by three percent since 1996. Investments were the next common source of income, with 23% of people receiving this type of income, although this proportion has been decreasing since 1996. The proportion of people receiving a government-sourced income decreased from 42 percent in 1996 to 34 percent in 2013.

chart of source of personal income

Source(s) of personal income, 1996-2013

Household Income

In 2013, the median household income in Christchurch City was $65,300. This was slightly higher than the New Zealand median of $63,800.

In 2013, almost 31,000 households (28%) had an annual income of over $100,000. The inner North-West area units (Holmwood and Deans Bush) and outer South-West area units (Cashmere and Kennedys Bush) were the areas with the highest median household incomes, at over $100,000.

The lowest median household incomes (less than $45,000) were found towards the East of the city (Aranui, Linwood, and Phillipstown).

map of median household income

Median household income, 2013

Household Expenditure

In 2013, the average weekly household expenditure (net) was $1,062 for Canterbury households and $1,111 for all New Zealand households.

The largest component of average weekly household expenditure in Canterbury and New Zealand is housing and utilities. In 2013, the average Canterbury expenditure on housing was $226, comprising 21% of net expenditure. This proportion has been relatively constant since 2007.

For the whole of New Zealand, the average housing and utility expenditure is $47 higher and comprises 25% of household expenditure.

Food is the next biggest expense, at $183 and $193 for Canterbury and New Zealand households respectively, comprising approximately 17% of household expenditure for each area.

chart of household expenditure

Household Expenditure, Canterbury and New Zealand, 2013

Transport costs are the third largest cost for households, and have increased the most between 2010 and 2013 for both Canterbury and New Zealand. In Canterbury, the average weekly cost in 2013 was $173 (16%), compared with $158 (14%) nationally.

Chart of household expenditure, Canterbury

Household Expenditure, Canterbury, 2007-2013


The 2013 New Zealand Index of Deprivation reflects aspects of household social and material deprivation for small areas in New Zealand.

The deprivation index is a valuable tool for understanding a community's socio-economic make-up, as well as enabling planning and decision making around a community's needs. Data is available at the suburb and street block level.

In Christchurch City, the area units with the highest deprivation scores are generally located to the east of the central city and include Aranui, Bexley, Linwood, Woolston, Phillipstown and Waltham. There are also pockets around the North-West (Jellie Park and Bishopdale). The area units with the lowest deprivation scores are generally located on or near the Port Hills (from Sumner through to Kennedys Bush), towards the north-west of the city (Holmwood and Fendalton), the south-west (Halswell), as well as pockets to the north (Northwood, Travis Wetland).

About the 2013 New Zealand Deprivation Index

  • NZDep2013 (external link)  is a good indicator of small area socioeconomic deprivation, and it combines nine census variables (external link)  [JPG 45KB]
    (external link)
  • NZDep2013 provides a deprivation score for each area unit in New Zealand.
  •  The scale of deprivation ranges from 1 to 10:
    • 1 represents the areas with the least deprived scores.
    • 10 represents the areas with the most deprived scores.
    • Nationally, equal proportions of the population (about 10%) live in each decile.
The 2013 deprivation index (external link)  is developed by researchers at the University of Otago, and combines nine variables from the 2013 census which reflect dimensions of socio-economic deprivation. Deprivation scores apply to areas rather than individual people. The deprivation index is developed with three principal purposes in mind:
  1. Resource allocation: For example, indexes of deprivation have a long history of being used in capitation funding formulas for primary health care services (the population-based funding formula for District Health Boards) and in funding formulas for social services in other sectors (e.g. school decile rankings).
  2. Research: Indexes of deprivation have application in research in a variety of settings such as health and other social services. For example, in the health sector, many researchers use small-area indexes to describe the relationship between socioeconomic deprivation and health outcomes; increasing levels of deprivation are associated with higher mortality rates, and higher rates of many diseases.
  3. Advocacy: Indexes of deprivation are used by community groups and community-based service providers to describe the populations they serve, and to advocate for extra resources for community-based services. 

Information about data used

Personal Income:

Total personal income for an individual aged 15 years and over in the 12 months ending 31 March 2013. Median personal income is rounded to the nearest $100. People may receive income from more than one source: when a person reported more than one source, they were counted in each source they reported.

Note: This time series is irregular. Because the 2011 Census was cancelled after the Canterbury earthquake on 22 February 2011, the gap between this census and the last one is seven years. The change in the data between 2006 and 2013 may be greater than in the usual five-year gap between censuses. Be careful when comparing trends.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings (external link)

Household Income:

As total personal income is collected in income ranges (e.g. $25,001–$30,000), and not as an actual dollar income (e.g. $29,500), in order for total household income to be calculated, a representative income is determined for each total personal income range. Total household income is derived by adding together the median total personal incomes of all people in the household who are aged 15 years and over. As a result of this calculation, a household income category is assigned to the household. If personal income information is missing for an individual 15 years and over in a household, family, or family nucleus then the family/extended family/household income is allocated to not-stated unless the combined incomes fall in the highest income bracket of $150,001 or more. This situation results in higher non-response rates for total income for families and households.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings (external link)

Household Expenditure:

Statistics New Zealand (2013) notes that "Factors influencing a household's expenditure or income include household size, household composition, geographic location, and employment-related factors". The Household Economic Survey has a relatively small sample size (approximately 5,000 households). Although survey results are adjusted for various demographic variables (age  sex, and region), there can be variability in survey estimates from one survey collection period to the next. This variability is because a different group of households is selected for each survey.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2013 Household Economic Survey (external link)


The New Zealand Deprivation Index reflects aspects of social and material deprivation, based on a combination of the following census data: income, employment, qualifications, owned home, support, living space, transport and communication. The NZDep2013 index of deprivation ordinal scale ranges from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the areas with the least deprived scores and 10 the areas with the most deprived scores. It is important to note that deprivation scores apply to areas rather than individual people.

Source: Department of Public Health, University of Otago (Wellington), NZDep2013 Index of Deprivation (external link)