Research in Population Studies and Demography

National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) links together a virtual and evolving community of national and international researchers whose research focus is the interaction of demographic, social and economic processes. Initially founded through collaboration between the University of Waikato’s former Population Studies Centre, Waikato Management School, and Wellington-based Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust, the Institute’s primary goal is to help inform choices and responses to the demographic, social and economic interactions that are shaping New Zealand's future. Reflecting this objective, NIDEA's research programme comprises five interconnected themes, and is supported and sustained by a strong capacity-building programme:

  • New Zealand 2050 (A structurally ageing New Zealand)
  • New Zealand's regions and communities (A regionally diverse New Zealand)
  • New Zealand's individuals, families and households (A socially informed New Zealand)
  • Te para one te tū mai nei (Māori and Indigenous Futures)
  • New Zealand's oceanic and global context (A globally engaged New Zealand)
  • NIDEA Demographic Laboratory (A statistically numerate New Zealand)

Current research includes the co-leadership of an international project analysing the impacts of immigrant diversity in Europe (Professor Jacques Poot), a Marsden-funded investigation of state practices of ethnic counting and classification on a global scale (Dr Tahu Kukutai), and two Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment-funded investigations – the first looking at keeping older people active and independent (Professor Peggy Koopman-Boyden); the second looking at the impact of demographic change and migration on New Zealand’s regions and communities (Professors Jacques Poot, and Dr Mike Cameron, with Professor Paul Spoonley and colleagues from Massey University, and Natalie Jackson). NIDEA researchers are also focussing on Pacific migration through the Pacific Island-New Zealand Migration Survey (PINZMS), which aims to quantify the benefits of migrating, including the effects on families left behind (Professor John Gibson with Dr Steven Stillman of Motu). Another MBIE-funded project is developing econometric models showing how New Zealand immigrants from 1996 onwards have integrated into the labour force, and using that information to identify pathways that overcome barriers to successful integration (Professor Jacques Poot with Professor Paul Spoonley from Massey).

The NIDEA Demographic Laboratory underpins the Institute’s research with advanced analytical and technical support. It aims to develop new analytical methods and techniques to respond to cross-disciplinary research questions and novel circumstances. It also provides workshops for users of demographic data to build knowledge of demographic methods and enhance understanding of the interaction between fertilitiy, mortality, migration, population composition and growth.