Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

www.stats.govt.nz

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Chapter 1: Household Access

At the time of the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings, 37 percent of New Zealand households had access to the Internet, and 96 percent had access to a telephone. A telephone line is an important means of connecting to the Internet in New Zealand as the majority of people who link to the Internet at home do so through a landline telephone connection (Maharey, 2001). One in 25 households had no access to telecommunications and one in four households had access to a fax machine.

Figure 1
Household Access to Telecommunications
2001

Household access to telecommunications graph.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

It is now possible to connect to the Internet using a range of technologies including mobile phones. Digital televisions are also available, although these are still in their infancy and are currently not widely used. Computers are still the most common medium of accessing the Internet.

In the 2000/01 HES, nearly half (47 percent) of households had a computer. This was an increase from 33 percent of households in 1997/98 and up from 10 percent of households in 1987/88.

Several influential characteristics determine Internet access. Characteristics such as labour force status are closely related to total household income. A direct comparison of household Internet access by labour force status may therefore be misleading, as the difference may be attributable to different household income distributions, rather than to the characteristic itself. Standardisation (see technical notes) has therefore been used to compare the effects that selected variables have on Internet access once the effects of total household income have been removed.

Highest qualification of an occupant within the household is also an important explanatory variable for Internet access, and for this reason was used as an alternative standardisation for some variables.

Multivariate analysis (see technical notes) of household access to the Internet concluded that total household income had the single largest effect on whether a household would be connected to the Internet, followed by highest qualification and household composition.

Total household income

Income is the most important variable in determining the dispersal of new communication technologies such as the Internet. As figure 2 shows, the proportion of dwellings with Internet access generally increases with total household income. Households reporting annual incomes greater than $100,000 were five times more likely to be connected to the Internet than households with incomes under $15,000: 72 percent compared with 14 percent, respectively. However, there was also a relatively large proportion (27 percent) of households with Internet access where the total income was below $5,000, or a loss.

Figure 2
Household Internet Access
By total household income
2001

Household internet access by total household income.
Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

The presence of computers in households is relevant to accessing and disseminating digital information but does not necessarily equate to accessing the Internet. Results from the 2000/01 Household Economic Survey (HES) show that the proportion of households with home computers increases with income, as does the expenditure on the Internet. By comparison, households with low incomes have least access to the Internet and least opportunity to participate in the knowledge society and economy.

When household income is analysed by quintiles, households in the highest income quintile were nearly four times more likely to report having a home computer than those in the lowest income quintile. Seventy-six percent of households with an annual income above $76,700 had a home computer, compared with 21 percent of households with an income below $20,700, as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3
Proportion of Households With a Computer
By income quintiles
2000/01

Proportion of households with a computer by income quintiles.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Economic Survey

Household Internet expenditure also increased by household income quintile, as shown in figure 4. Households in the highest income quintile were almost fives times more likely to report Internet expenditure than households in the lowest quintile (43 percent compared with 9 percent, respectively).

Figure 4
Households Reporting Internet Expenditure
By income quintiles
2000/01

Households reporting internet expenditure by income quintiles.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Economic Survey

1. Data for first two quintiles have a sample error between 30 and 50 percent and should be used with caution.

The average annual household Internet expenditure for the households in the highest income quintiles ($111) was twice that recorded for the third quintile ($51).

Highest qualification

Multivariate analysis of 2001 Census data showed that highest qualification was the second most important variable determining whether households have access to the Internet. This supports international research, which has shown strong links between household Internet use and education (Statistics Canada, 2002, 6). The proportion of households with Internet access rose with qualification when households were grouped by the highest qualification of the occupants. Households where at least one person aged 15 years and over had a university degree were the most likely to be connected (68 percent), followed by those with a vocational qualification (46 percent) and school qualification (34 percent). Twelve percent of households where no one had a qualification were connected to the Internet.

Figure 5 shows that this pattern is still evident, although less pronounced, when the effects of income are eliminated (ie income-standardised). The proportion of households containing no one with a qualification and having access to the Internet increases to 18 percent while, for those households with a degree, it falls to 62 percent.

Figure 5
Household Internet Access
By highest qualification of occupants
2001

Household internet access by highest qualification of occupants.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

Household composition

Household composition was the third most important variable determining household access to the Internet. Households consisting of a couple plus children had the highest levels of Internet access (55 percent). One-person households were the least likely to be connected at only 16 percent, as figure 6 illustrates. A possible explanation for this may be the high concentration of older women in this category, the older age groups being less likely to access the Internet.

When the effects of household income or highest qualifications were removed, differences in levels of household Internet access were still apparent but less pronounced. The proportion of connected one-parent plus children households increased from 30 percent to 36 percent when income was standardised. Thus, although household income influences connectivity levels, one-parent households were still less likely to have access to the Internet when differences in income were removed. This suggests that their limited digital uptake was not simply a reflection of lower incomes.

Figure 6
Household Internet Access
By household composition
2001

 Household internet access by household composition.


Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

Data from the HES also reflected this pattern. Households consisting of a couple with children were more likely to report having a home computer, compared with all other household types, as shown in figure 7. By comparison, one-person households and one-parent households with dependent children were less likely to have a computer in their home.

Figure 7
Households With a Computer
By household type
2000/01

Households with a computer by household type.


Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Economic Survey

1. Data for ‘All other one parent with children only households’ has a sample error of between 30 and 50 percent and should be used with caution.

Household composition is broken down differently in the HES and 2001 Census, category titles therefore differ and are not directly comparable.

Results of this survey also show that households consisting of a couple and children were more likely than other household types to report Internet expenditure. Couples with dependent children only, recorded less Internet expenditure than all other couples with children only. The average annual household Internet expenditure for the former household type was $85 per annum while the latter was $107.

Age of youngest occupant

Over half (52 percent) of households with a youngest member between the ages of 5 and 19 had Internet access. Households with a youngest occupant in the age group 10–14 years were the most likely to have access to the Internet (56 percent). Use of information and communication technology such as the Internet, is often encouraged in younger people, as it is expected to improve academic performance and technological skills and prepare them for the modern working environment (Willms and Corbett, 2003, 15).

The level of household Internet access generally declined with the increasing age of the youngest person, although there was a slight rise in access in the 45–49 and 50–54 year age groups (38 and 39 percent, respectively). Households with a youngest member aged 70 years and over were a fifth as likely (7 percent) as those aged 40–44 (35 percent) to be connected to the Internet, as shown below in figure 8. The decline of Internet access with age may be attributed to a combination of factors, such as a lack of basic computer skills and a failure to recognise the value of the Internet. As such the older age groups may face fewer opportunities to interact in an information society (Statistics Canada, 2002, 7).

The effect of age on household Internet access was reduced when the effects of income were removed. Households with a youngest occupant in the older age groups showed significant increases in their levels of connectivity with those aged 60–64 years rising from 25 percent to 31 percent when standardised by income.

Figure 8
Household Internet Access
By age of youngest occupant
2001

Household internet access by age of youngest occupant.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

Results of the HES data show a slightly different pattern of participation in the digital culture. In the 2000/01 survey, one-third of all households with at least one person in the age group 45–54 and 30 percent of households with an occupant in the 15–24 age group reported Internet expenditure, as shown in figure 9. This may be due to these households being more likely to have young children.

Figure 9
Households Reporting Internet Expenditure
By age of at least one person in the household
2000/01

Households reporting internet expenditure by age of at least one person in the household.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Economic Survey

1. Data for the 65–74 age group and the 75 and over age group have a sample error of between 30 and 50 percent and should be used with caution.

The 2000/01 HES data also showed that households with at least one person aged 65 years and over were disproportionately represented among those without access to a computer and/or access to the Internet. Sixty-three percent of households with at least one person in the 45–54 age group had access to a home computer. Households with at least one person in the 35–44 age group had an access rate of 62 percent and those with at least one person aged 15–24 years, 59 percent. The proportion of households with computers was low, around 17 percent, for households with at least one person aged 65 and over. Although there are differences in access to digital communications between households by age, this may not necessarily indicate an unmet need. The lack of Internet or computer access by households with older residents could be due to a corresponding lack of interest in this technology.

Ethnicity

Ethnicity counts were based on the presence of at least one occupant of that ethnicity in the household. Therefore, households with occupants of several ethnicities will be counted in each of those ethnic groups.

Households containing at least one person of Asian ethnicity at the 2001 Census had the highest level of Internet access, with 58 percent of households connected. In contrast, households with Pacific people were less than half as likely (23 percent) to be connected to the Internet.

When differences in household income between ethnic groups were standardised, the percentages with access remained relatively unchanged. This suggests that the ethnicities of household members had an influence over the presence of an Internet connection, independent of income.

Standardisation by highest qualifications showed that some of the variation between the ethnic groups could be attributed to differences in educational attainment. Households with at least one person of Asian ethnicity were still the most likely to have Internet access (49 percent), followed by Europeans (38 percent), Māori (30 percent) and Pacific peoples (26 percent).

Figure 10
Household Internet Access
By ethnicity of occupants
2001

Household internet access by ethnicity of occupants.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

Figures for the European population remained unchanged when standardised by household income and highest qualification, as shown in figure 10. This is due to the European group being the largest single ethnic group in New Zealand, the distribution therefore resembling that of the whole population.

Analysing HES data is another way to look at household access to computers and the Internet by ethnicity. Households with at least one member identifying as Asian were over represented among households with computers, as shown in figure 11. The Asian ethnic group make up around 7 percent of the New Zealand population; however, nearly 70 percent of households with at least one member who was Asian have a computer. By comparison, those who identify with the European ethnic group comprise 80 percent of the population. Just under half of the households (48 percent) with at least one member of European ethnicity have a computer.

Figure 11
Households With a Computer
By ethnic group
2000/01

Households with a computer by ethnic group.


Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Economic Survey

Households with at least one Asian member were more likely than other households to report Internet expenditure. Just over one-third of households with Asian members reported this, compared with nearly one-quarter of households with at least one European member, as shown in figure 12. The information for households reporting Internet expenditure by ethnic group for Mäori, Pacific peoples and Other has a relatively high sample error and should be used with caution.

Figure 12
Households Reporting Internet Expenditure
By ethnic group
2000/01

Households reporting internet expenditure by ethnic group.


Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Economic Survey

1. Data should be used with caution, as the sample error of between 35 and 50 percent.

Labour force status of occupants

The labour force status of a household was counted as full-time if there was at least one person aged 15 years and over in the household who was employed full time (30 or more hours a week). If there were no members of the household in full-time employment but at least one in part-time employment then the dwelling was classified as part-time. If none of the occupants of the dwelling were in employment then the dwelling was classified as not employed.

2001 Census data shows that households with at least one occupant in full-time employment were the most likely to be connected, at 47 percent. In comparison, 34 percent of households with at least one person in part-time employment and 16 percent of households with no one in employment were connected to the Internet, as shown in figure 13.

Figure 13
Household Internet Access
By labour force status of occupants
2001

Household internet access by labour force status of occupants.


Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

When standardised by income, levels of Internet access between full-time and part-time households become the same (42 percent), indicating that differences in Internet connectivity between the two groups can be attributable to differences in incomes.

Standardisation by highest qualification had less of an impact on the levels of connectivity. Households with at least one person in full-time employment were still the highest, at 43 percent, followed by those with only part-time workers and those with no one employed (36 and 23 percent, respectively).

Number of children

Data from the 2001 Census shows that households containing two children (aged under 15) were the most likely to be connected to the Internet (50 percent), while only one in three households with no children were connected. Households containing one or three children also had a high proportion with Internet access (46 percent), which is shown in figure 14, below. As the number of children in a household increased above two, the proportion of households with access to the Internet progressively declined. This may be a result of the lower socio-economic status generally associated with larger families.

Figure 14
Household Internet Access
By number of children
2001

Household internet access by number of children.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

Tenure

The 2001 Census shows that dwellings that were owner-occupied had a higher rate of Internet access (42 percent) than those that were rented (29 percent). This trend is less pronounced when the effects of income or highest qualification are eliminated, as figure 15 shows. This suggests that both income and highest qualification have an impact on the likelihood of households being connected to the Internet. Household Internet connection rates increase to 33 percent for those in rented dwellings when income is standardised and 31 percent when highest qualification is standardised. In comparison, the proportion of owner-occupied dwellings connected to the Internet decreased when the effects of income and highest qualification were removed (40 and 41 percent respectively).

Figure 15
Household Internet Access
By tenure of dwelling
2001

Household internet access by tenure of dwelling.
Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Top
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+