Population Myths

July 7th, 2008 at 11:36 am by David Farrar

Some nice work by the Government’s website. They’ve done some pages on 12 common myths about . A very user-friendly way to get information across:

Myth 1: Half of all marriages end in divorce

Myth 2: There was a surge of returning New Zealanders after 9/11

Myth 3: “The browning of New Zealand”

Myth 4: New Zealand women are now having their first baby at age 30

Myth 5: New Zealand’s population is only growing because of migration

Myth 6: “In 2003 four of every five pregnant Asian women aborted their babies”

Myth 7: The average life expectancy of males is 6 years less than females

Myth 8: New Zealand has 3 million people and 60 million sheep

Myth 9: The Brain Drain

Myth 10: There are at least 1 million New Zealanders living overseas

Myth 11: “There are more people alive now than have ever lived”

Myth 12: “New Zealand is in the midst of a baby boom”

I should point out that not everything here is a myth per se. For example the increased home after 9/11 is inconclusive – with it likely there was some impact but that otehr factors are at play. Also one can dispute their brain drain arguments as they do not look just as NZ citizens in and out but also new immigrants. Just because our policy brings in skilled persons doesn’t mean we are not losing skilled persons. They would be on better ground if they looked at migrations flows of NZ citizens and non citizens.

Also it would be useful if they provided links to source material. But none the less still a good effort.

Hat Tip: Miramar Mike and Llew

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14 Responses to “Population Myths”

  1. adc (558 comments) says:

    I’d also dispute the reasoning behind the claims about baby boom or not.

    They are claiming that relative to the rate of number of total births per female of population, you can’t justify it.

    But last time I looked, it took at least 9 months to have a baby, and most people don’t get pregnant straight away again.

    So I don’t know how they can claim that in any single year, it is possible to calculate such a thing as total lifetime number of births per female. However, arguing for the start of a baby boom is relatively easy. I wonder if they looked into stats as to whether these were first children or not.

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  2. bearhunter (822 comments) says:

    “Half of marriages end in divorce…” and the rest of them fight it out to the bitter end…
    Lovely way to present population statistics. If only some of the other govt depts would be so accessible and straightforward.

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  3. llew (1,286 comments) says:

    Links to sources would be good – and I note that in some of them they do admint to only partially “busting the myth”.

    Be nice to see other govt websites do something similar.

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  4. adc (558 comments) says:

    also, they are careful to use “median” vs “mean” or average to justify claims about how late women are first giving birth.

    Last time I looked, median is not the average, it’s the middle number of an ordered set of numbers. It does not take into account weightings of each number (e.g. how many people give birth at that age).

    Just reiterates the old adage about statistics…

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  5. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “Some nice work by the Government’s population website.”

    Sorry can’t agree. I’m afraid I’m too cynical to buy into anything coming from government these days. The administrative structure is far too partisan. Nothing can be believed. Everything has a political intent. To me this information and its conclusions is/ are highly suspect.

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  6. baxter (753 comments) says:

    Perhaps TVNZ could employ the Mythbuster guys to do a series on it. I agree with RED, who believes goverment statistics,not I.

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  7. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    I am inclined to agree with Redbaiter although a look at these stats shows them to perhaps be a little more innocuous. Hard to tell.

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  8. llew (1,286 comments) says:

    What would you believe guys? You have to believe in something (why does Little Orphan Annie come to mind when I typed that?)

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  9. dad4justice (6,594 comments) says:

    NZ Government statistics are as believe as Mugabe on bad acid.

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  10. dad4justice (6,594 comments) says:

    Silly me, missed the edit time and I meant “believable” . I wonder how many people are viewed by the Miss Klark government as vrag naroda’s? Interesting statistic that one.

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  11. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    “vrag naroda’s” d4j, you a sci fi fan then?

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  12. thehawkreturns (124 comments) says:

    “In 2003 four of every five pregnant Asian women aborted their babies”

    How about Indians and Muslims? Chinese outside China don’t persist with the anti-female abortions. How about number of female fetuses aborted versus male? AND before anyone comments I am liberally pro-abortion. Just not sexist abortion.

    “The Brain Drain”
    Oh come on! Importing an unemployable/ unregisterable “professional” from Afghanistan is NOT the same as exporting a highly employable engineer or doctor to Australia. Give me a break. The reality is we are losing these important people every day.

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  13. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,760 comments) says:

    “The Brain Drain” is a real phenomenon occurring in New Zealand right now.

    It’s not bludgers heading off for shores anew. They’re quite happy to keep their hands out in New Zealand and expect hard working New Zealanders to pay for there lifestyles. It’s people who can actually earn a living who are joining the great exodus. Why would top notch candidates from China or India head to little old New Zealand in the middle of no where if they could migrate to the US or other G8 countries?

    If the government’s population website is to be believed, then the current recession hit New Zealand is going to be a real breeze to deal with. The country is brimming with talented people and is the envy of the rest of the world. Prepare for a flooded of overseas government experts to come into New Zealand to try and determine the “secret” to New Zealand’s spectacular success.

    What part of the Government’s population website analysis of “The Brain Drain” isn’t delusional?

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  14. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    Like DPF said, we have the brains, they just aren’t always new zealand brains.

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