More Pensioners, Less Income Inequality? The Impact of Changing Age Composition on Inequality in Big Cities and Elsewhere

  • Omoniyi B. AlimiEmail author
  • David C. Maré
  • Jacques Poot
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


As is the case in most developed countries, the population of New Zealand is ageing numerically and structurally. Population ageing can have important effects on the distribution of personal income within and between urban areas. The age structure of the population may affect the distribution of income through the life-cycle profile of earnings but also through the spatial-temporal distribution of income within the various age groups. By decomposing New Zealand census data from 1986 to 2013 by age and urban area, this chapter examines the effects of population ageing on spatial-temporal changes in the distribution of personal income to better understand urban area-level income inequality (measured by the Mean Log Deviation index). We focus explicitly on differences between metropolitan and non-metropolitan urban areas. New Zealand has experienced a significant increase in income inequality over the last few decades, but population ageing has slightly dampened this trend. Because metropolitan areas are ageing slower, the inequality-reducing effect of ageing has been less in these areas. However, this urban-size differential-ageing effect on inequality growth has been relatively small compared with the faster growth in intra-age group inequality in the metropolitan areas.



Access to the data used in this study was provided by Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. All frequency counts using Census data were subject to base three rounding in accordance with SNZ’s release policy for census data.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Omoniyi B. Alimi
    • 1
    Email author
  • David C. Maré
    • 2
  • Jacques Poot
    • 3
  1. 1.NIDEAUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Motu Economic and Public Policy ResearchWellingtonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Population Economics, NIDEAUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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