Our country has changed beyond measure over the past 100 years, but somebody has to try. New figures from Statistics New Zealand’s
reveal vast demographic and economic changes between the census of 1911 and the census of 2013.
Some of the changes seem obvious: Our population increased by about 300 per cent, from just over 1 million in 1911 to 4.2 million in 2013.
Others are more surprising: the Maori population increased from about 50,000 in 1911 to nearly 600,000 in 2013, an increase of 1000 per cent – although differing measures of the Maori population have been employed over the century.
Our proportion of overseas immigrants has dropped slightly: 28.8 per cent of those questioned in 1911 were born overseas, compared to 26.9 per cent in 2013.
Despite a dramatic drop in home ownership from the 1950s, the number of people living in each home has steadily fallen. In 1911, there was an average of 4.7 residents in each home, while in 2013 there was an average of 2.7.
This figure makes a lot of sense – while our population has
Things in New Zealand were incredibly different in 1913.
We still had an upper house of Parliament, the Chinese were charged a poll tax, and while women could vote, they could not stand as MPs.
Our currency was non-decimal: 12 pence (d) made up a shilling, then 20 shillings made up a pound. You could buy a loaf of bread for just under 5d in 1915.
A pound of jam (450 grams) to go on that bread would set you back an average of 5.13d in Auckland, 5.34d in Wellington, and 6.08d in Christchurch.
A pound of cheese would cost you an average of 10.02d in Auckland, 10.18d in Wellington, and 10.41d in Christchurch.
A quart of milk to drink with your feast – just over a litre – would run you just 4d in Auckland and Christchurch, but an average of 4.4d in Wellington. quadrupled, the number of dwellings has increased by seven times, from about 238,000 to more than 1.5 million. Almost half of all private dwellings were rented in 1916 (the first time the data was collected), while 31.2 per cent of dwellings were rented in 2013.
The North Island saw much more population growth than the South Island.
After its peak during the gold rush of 1860s – when almost two thirds of the settler population lived there – the South Island’s share of the population has steadily decreased, with only one quarter of New Zealanders calling it their home in 2013.
Meanwhile, health care advances have led to a much older population.
In 1911, about a third of Kiwis were aged under 15, with just over 5 per cent aged over 65.
In 2013 under-15s made up just one in five of the population, while about 15 per cent were over 65.
Picton’s new wharf in 1913. New Zealand has changed immeasurably since the 1913 census.