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

Changes to our Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities

The Council approved a new 2020 strategic framework on 19 December 2019 and this is currently part of the consultation document on the annual plan.

Information on our revised Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities is currently being developed.

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?
Mixed Result
Mixed Results

Ability to meet the cost of everyday needs

In 2016, 21% of people reported they did not have enough money to meet their everyday needs. In 2018, people reporting they did not have enough money to meet everyday needs decreased to 13%. Further information.

Mixed result
Mixed Results

Household income disparity

The second highest household income decile (P80) increased to 3.7 times the income of the second lowest decile (P20) in 2014, before declining back to 3.1 times in 2017, however in 2018 this ratio increased to 3.5 times. Further information.


Negative result

Unemployment by age

Unemployment for Christchurch residents aged 15 to 24 years is two to three times that of the City's overall unemployment rate at 10.6%.

Unemployment in the 15 to 24 year age group has increased from 7.4% in 2015. Further information.

Mixed result
Mixed Results

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

Christchurch's NEET rate has been increasing overall since 2015, and was 11.2% in June 2019. Further information.

Ability to meet the costs of everyday needs

The 2018 Quality of Life survey found 52% of households had enough or more than enough money to meet their everyday needs, such as accommodation, food, clothing and other necessities.

Between 2010 and 2016, this proportion decreased from 52% to 42%. 2018 marks the first year since 2010 that over half of respondents report having enough money for their needs.

In 2018, 31% reported their household had just enough money, continuing the overall downward trend since 2006.

In 2018, 13% of respondents reported their household did not have enough money to meet their everyday needs. This is lower than the 21% of households who reported they did not have enough money in 2016, and marks the first decrease since 2010. 

Lower income households were more likely to report that they did not have enough money to meet the cost of every day needs. Around 23% of households earning $70,000 or less reported they did not have enough money for the basics, compared with 5.5% of households with incomes over $70,000.

Household income disparity

Between 2007 and 2018, the median household income for the second highest household income decile (P80) in Christchurch increased by 56%, from $73,700 to $116,000.

Whereas the median household income for the second lowest decile (P20) only increased by 37% since 2007, from $24,300 to $33,300.

The difference in household income between P20 and P80 households fluctuated between 2007 and 2018. In 2007, P80 households had 3 times the income of P20 households, increasing to 3.7 times in 2014, before declining to 3.1 times in 2017, before increasing to 3.5 times in 2018.

The difference in dollars between the P20 and P80 household incomes has increased from P80 households earning $50,000 more than P20 households in 2007 to $83,000 in 2018.

When comparing these trends to those for New Zealand, the level of disparity at the national level have remained relatively constant over time at 3.4 times. The percentage of growth for both the 20th and 80th percentiles from 2007 until 2018 are 47% and 48% respectively.

Before the earthquakes, Christchurch had slightly less disparity than New Zealand, but Christchurch exceeded the national ratio between 2013 and 2015. It then converged to the national level since 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%. This compares with a running average of 2.9 and 6.1% 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%. Since then, it has increased to 10.8% in the 12 months to June 2019, compared with 4.3% 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% and peaked at 14%. It declined to around 8% between 2013 and 2016, and has since fluctuated to around 11% in June 2019.

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% 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. 

Further information

Please email for further information.

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Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in processing, analysing and reporting the information provided in these web pages and reports. However, the Christchurch City Council gives no warranty that the information in these web pages and reports contain no errors. The Council shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered consequent upon the use directly, or indirectly, of the information supplied in this publication.