Story: Families: a history

Māori and non-Māori dependency ratios

Dependency ratios are measurements of measurements of the notional support burden placed on the working-age population (15–64 years) by younger (0–14) and older (65 and over) age groups in New Zealand who are usually not in paid work. Differences in fertility rates and life expectancy between Māori and non-Māori have contributed to differences in dependency ratios for these populations.

Māori youth-dependency ratios rose sharply relative to non-Māori from the late 19th century through to the mid-1970s as a result of consistently high birth rates among Māori women. Non-Māori ratios dropped steeply in the late 19th century as fertility declined, and then rose again in the mid-1940s with the start of the post-war baby boom. Rapid declines in fertility from the 1960s for both Māori and non-Māori contributed to falling youth-dependency ratios. As more people over 65 years continue in paid work, assessment of dependency ratios may need revision.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Ian Pool and Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Families: a history - 21st-century families', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 April 2024)

Story by Ian Pool and Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jul 2017