Young people learning more and earning less

Embargoed until 04:30pm  –  10 May 2010

Young people learning more and earning less  –  Media Release

In 2006, young people were studying for longer, more likely to work part-time, and received lower levels of income than 20 years earlier.

Young people were more likely to earn less in 2006 than in 1986, a recent report from Statistics New Zealand has found. 

Young people 1986–2006: Study, work, and income is the second of two reports that look at changes in young people’s transition to independence.

The report uses life course events from census data to measure when young people move toward independence. Findings are presented against a backdrop of significant economic change that took place in the 20 year period between 1986 and 2006.

The report, which examines changes in the nature and timing of young people’s study and work participation, found that 32 percent of all young people aged 18–24 years were studying in 2006. This was an increase of 8 percentage points from 1996.

The report identifies the age of young people when they enter study or the workforce and when they begin to receive income. It focuses on the patterns between different groups of young people when they move from family dependence to financial independence.

“Considerable changes in the economic and labour markets occurred over this period, which influenced young people’s participation in tertiary study and the labour market,” says Social Conditions Business Unit Manager Conal Smith.

“These changes directly affected the sources and levels of young people’s personal income between 1986 and 2006. For example, young people’s median income decreased by 46 percent between 1986 and 2001. It then rose again by 12 percent to $11,500 between 2001 and 2006,” Mr Smith said. 

Geoff Bascand 
10 May 2010
Government Statistician

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For media enquiries contact:
Conal Smith
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz