The ultimate objective of economic growth is a sustained, broad-based improvement in living standards for all.

Income inequality and insecurity is raising interest in a more socially-inclusive approach to prosperity. As technological disruption and automation bring  change or potential job losses, there is further risk of inequity and insecurity.  

What this means for our district

  • Increasing economic resilience for low-income households.
  • Increased levels of income equality.
  • There is an increase in Christchurch businesses acting in a socially responsible way.
  • Christchurch has a thriving 'social enterprise' sector.

How we are contributing

We're developing a sustainable procurement policy at Council which seeks to ensure social and environmental factors are considered alongside economic factors when procuring services. We provide assistance and advice for those who wish to establish social enterprises which benefit both business and the community.

How you can help

Support businesses which give back to the community. Think about ways in which your business can contribute to the community and a healthy environment.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
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Ability to meet the cost of everyday needs

Since the earthquakes, people who report they don't have enough money to meet their everyday needs has doubled from 12 per cent to 24 per cent in 2016. Further information.

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Household income disparity

Since the earthquakes, the difference in household income between the second lowest decile (P20) and second highest decile (P80) has increased from 3.1 to 3.4 times in 2016. Further information.

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Unemployment by age

Unemployment for people aged 15 to 24 years is two to three times that of the City's unemployment rate.

This has been increasing since 2015. Further information.

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Not in employment, education or training (NEET) rate for young people

Christchurch's NEET rate has been increasing since 2015, although it appears to have declined in the last 9 months. Further information.

Ability to meet the costs of everyday needs

Since 2010, the proportion of respondents to the Quality of Life survey who report they have enough or more than enough to meet their everyday needs has declined from 52 per cent to 42 per cent in 2016.

Those who report they have just enough money to meet their everyday needs has declined from 39 per cent to 34 per cent between 2006 and 2016.

People reporting they do not have enough money increased after the earthquakes from 12 per cent to 20 per cent, and has continued to increase to just under a quarter of respondents (24 per cent).


Household income disparity

Between 2007 and 2016, the median household income for the second highest household income decile (P80) in Christchurch increased by 51 per cent, from $74,000 to $111,000.

Whereas the median household income for the second lowest decile (P20) only increased by 34 per cent since 2007, from $24,000 to $32,500.

This means the difference between the P20 and P80 households has increased, from the P80 households having 3 times the income of the P20 household in 2007 to 3.4 times in 2016.

These figures are comparable to New Zealand. The level of disparity at the national level have remained relatively constant over time.

However, before the earthquakes, Christchurch had slightly less disparity than New Zealand, but Christchurch exceed the national ratio between 2013 and 2015. It has since converged to the national level in 2016.


Unemployment by age

The unemployment rate for age groups over 25 years of age tend to be very similar to the average for the city. In most cases they are lower than the average. The unemployment rate for people aged 25 to 34 years is the highest of these - but generally fluctuates around the average.

The unemployment rate for people aged between 15 and 24 years is two to three times the average for the city. Since 2007, it has ranged between a 12 month running average of 6 and 18 per cent. This compares with an running average of 2.9 and 6.1 per cent for Christchurch's total unemployment rate.

Unemployment for people aged under 25 years was high from 2009 until mid 2013, when the rebuild had a significant impact on unemployment in the city. From 2013 until 2016, unemployment for those aged under 25 years averaged around 8 per cent. Since then, it has increased to 11 per cent in the March 2018 quarter, compared with 4.2 per cent for all age groups.


Youth NEET (not in employment, education or training) rate

The NEET rate follows a similar trend to the 15 to 24 year unemployment rate, although at a lower level due to the total number of people in this age group, including people engaged in education and training as well as in employment or unemployed.

Between 2009 and 2013, the NEET rate was at its highest, averaging around 12.5 per cent and peaked at 14 per cent. It declined to around 8 per cent between 2013 and 2016. By June 2017, it had increased to almost 11 per cent in June 2017 before declining again to 9.4 per cent in March 2018.

The NEET rate for 20 to 24 year olds is on average one and a half times that of people between 15 and 19 year of age.

Christchurch's NEET rate for people aged 15-24 years has generally been around 80 per cent of the national NEET rate. However, during the city's peak between 2009 and 2013, the Christchurch rate was at a similar level to the national rate. Christchurch's overall lower NEET rate could be the result of the number of opportunities for tertiary study in the city.