NIDEA's Research Programme

NIDEA’s research programme addresses the most central questions of population studies – demographic transitions, population ageing, population distribution, population health and health equity, migration, and ethnic and cultural diversity. It links them to economic, political and social transformations, such as the ageing of the labour force and regional development, to help inform policy-makers and planners at local and national level.

NIDEA’s research programme comprises six inter-related themes:

Population Health and Health Equity in New Zealand

Demographic LaboratoryResearch within this health theme examines trends, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It also involves a wider focus on health equity and health and social inequalities. Demographic and epidemiologic analyses underpins research across a broad range of topics.

New Zealand 2050
(An ageing New Zealand)

NZ 2050New Zealand 2050 will look at how inexorable demographic shifts will affect the nation’s social and economic development over the first half of this century. Separate but overlapping projects will address the likely effects of age structural transitions (which are temporally differentiated both regionally and for New Zealand’s major ethnic groups) on: human capital investments and outcomes; labour supply and demand, including the management of Baby Boomer retirement and the likely increase in labour costs and labour force participation associated with a demographically tight labour market; the linkages between technological innovation, productivity, societal engagement and wellbeing over the life cycle, including trends and patterns in health, morbidity and longevity, and future welfare demand and provision scenarios.

New Zealand's regions and communities
(A regionally and ethnically diverse New Zealand)

NZs Regions and CommunitiesNew Zealand's regions and communities will concentrate on the sub-national dimensions of demographic, social and economic transformation, the dynamics and implications of which are not uniformly unfolding across the country. Projects will investigate the sequentially unfolding nature of regional shifts from natural population growth to decline; associated work and settlement patterns; the changing role of Auckland in New Zealand’s society and economy; the changing ethnic composition of the population and the special role of Māori within it; the settlement and integration of immigrants into the national polity, including second and third generation immigrants; and the implications of all these phenomena for land and resource use as well as for the built environment.

New Zealand's individuals, families and households
(A socially informed New Zealand)

NZs Individuals Families and HouseholdsNew Zealand's individuals, families and households will focus on the underlying human dimensions of the above demographic-social-economic interactions. In the context of low fertility and increased longevity, projects will look at how changing family and household structures will affect the provision of the future labour force and tax base; the implications of increasing female labour force participation for the provision of ‘traditional’ caring roles; cross-cutting patterns of intergenerational, inter-ethnic and gender inequality; the contribution of pecuniary and non-pecuniary intergenerational transfers to wellbeing; and investigation of possible strategies which reconsider the current basis of access to the goods and services of the welfare state.

New Zealand's oceanic and global context
(A globally engaged New Zealand)

NZs Oceanic and Global ContextNew Zealand's oceanic and global context will address the cross-border dimensions of these demographic-social-economic interactions. It will focus on the links between New Zealand and other populations and economies within Oceania and beyond. It will encompass the potential migration-related implications of the differences in the timing of demographic transition between the more and less developed populations within Oceania; climate change and demand for water with particular reference to Australia and the Pacific Islands; multilateral policy arrangements; cross-Tasman and trans-national transfers of capital, trade, services and people; ecologically sustainable development, and tourism. It will also include research on the nature and strength of international economic links between New Zealand and other nations, which will increasingly shape New Zealand’s economic future.

Te Para One E Tū Mai Nei
(Māori and indigenous futures)

Te Para One E Tū Mai NeiTe Para One E Tū Mai Nei is a forward-looking research programme that addresses the opportunities and challenges attendant with Māori demographic change. The complexity of contemporary indigenous realities demands a new approach to demography that is reflexive, critically informed, and firmly grounded in indigenous perspectives and aspirations. Māori and Indigenous Futures leverages local and international expertise through inter-disciplinary collaborations that utilise diverse theories and methods to do research that makes a positive difference. The projects span a range of levels from action-based research in rural Māori communities, to comparative projects examining indigenous demographic change and well-being in multiple countries. Specific projects examine:

  • how the “demographic gift” of a relatively youthful Māori population can be optimised for the benefit of communities, iwi, Māori, and New Zealand;
  • the dynamics of growing Māori transnationalism and the implications for Māori in Aotearoa;
  • the social, historical and political factors that have influenced state representations of indigenous identities in censuses around the world;
  • the historical and contemporary drivers of growing socio-economic, ethnic and cultural differentiation within indigenous populations.