Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Auckland carrying a disproportionate share of benefit growth

I have been playing with some of the regional benefit data released for March 2009.

These figures show the total number of people on main benefits and the percentage change (they are all positive) over the year.

Obviously the highest growth is occurring in the cities, most noticeably, Auckland.

Then I have broken down each main benefit.

The following shows the Unemployment benefit numbers at 2008 and 2009 and the percentage change;

The highest percentage unemployment growth is Canterbury with Auckland second, but on a much larger base number.

Sickness benefits are next;

The percentage growth in sickness benefits is quite erratic across the regions ranging from zero in the East Coast to 21 in Canterbury. That may indicate that the growth is influenced by differing regional policy/procedures as much as individual incapacities. And some offsetting/contrasting figures can be seen in the next table which may indicate some reclassification/transfer - Invalid's benefit;

The next is the DPB numbers at 2008 and 2009 and the percentage change;

Again the highest growth is Auckland. More bad news because the highest percentage growth is also where the largest numbers reside.

In conclusion most of the benefit growth is happening in Auckland. And it's not simply because that's where most of the population lives. Almost half - 46 percent - of the extra numbers on welfare over the year to March 2009 live in Auckland.

Although, to be fair, it is still proportionately under-represented in terms of general welfare dependence.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is a racial/ ethnic element to this.
The highest growth appears to be in the 'browner' areas.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Maori make up around 15 percent of the population but 31.7 percent of those on benefits.

At 8 percent of benefit uptake Pacific people much more closely match their population share.

The Maori portion of people on benefits rose very slightly over the year - just 0.1 percentage point. The rise for Pacific was 0.4 percentage points.