Changes in the Māori Income Distribution: Evidence from the Population Census

This paper uses census data to identify the main changes in the individual-level income distribution of working-aged Maori between 1991 and 2001, and to analyse the effects of changes in the distribution of socio-demographic attributes and labour market activity patterns on the Maori income distribution.

There was substantial real income growth at most points in the income distribution, and particularly at points above the 30th percentile, but a decline in real incomes at the very lowest percentiles. The socio-demographic and labour market changes considered help to explain much of the income growth that was recorded at lower-middle to upper levels of income. However, they fail to account for the increase in the proportion of people with negative, nil, or very low incomes.