Past Population Studies Projects

In its 32 year history, the Population Studies Centre undertook a significant number of projects and generated a sizeable mass of publications. Archival access to these resources is provided here.

Strangers in Town: Enhancing Family and Community in a More Diverse New Zealand Society (2002-2010)

In 2002 Migration Research Group (now known as The Population Studies Centre) gained a grant of $2.4 million from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) for a six-year research programme to develop new knowledge about the role of population movement in the changing nature of families and communities, in order to underpin the development of public policy and community responses that foster social cohesion and economic inclusion in a society characterised by increasing cultural diversity. The programme builds on information bases generated by previous FRST-funded Transitions: Family, Community and Employment, and the New Demographic Directions programmes at the PSC concerning the structure, dynamics and transitions in New Zealand’s population. The programme co-ordinator is Professor Richard Bedford, who has also led Objective 1 of the research programme since 2006. Objective 2 is led by Dr Elsie Ho.  In 2006 FRST funding for Objective 1 has been rescheduled to run through to 2010 to enable the research team to fulfill the contracted milestones related the analysis of data collected in the Survey of Dynamics and Motivations for Migration in New Zealand (DMM) and the Longitudinal Immigration Survey: New Zealand (LisNZ). more...

Enhancing Wellbeing in an Ageing Society (2004-2009)

The Centre was awarded a five-year research grant from FRST on Enhancing Wellbeing in an Ageing Society (EWAS), which is one of the priority areas in FRST-funded social research. The proposal was developed in full partnership with the Social Policy Research Unit of the Family Centre (FCSPRU) based in Lower Hutt. The programme considers the implications of population ageing by means of the analysis of existing data sources, new survey-based data and micros-simulation based projections, while also considering as yet lesser studied topics such as issues of mental health, security, aspirations, multi-generational transactions and support, etc. An important aspect of the research is the study of support systems available to the elderly, and the support and other resources the elderly provide themselves to society. Objective leaders are Professor Peggy Koopman-Boyden and Professor Ian Pool of The Population Studies Centre and Charles Waldegrave and Dr Peter King of FCSPRU, with overall programme direction by Professor Richard Bedford (PSC) and Charles Waldegrave (FCSPRU).

Other EWAS team members who are based at the University of Waikato include Dr Suzan van der Pas, a specialist in research on intergenerational relationships of older adults in the Netherlands, and Dr Michael Cameron from the Economics Department in the Waikato Management School. Dr Michael Cameron is supporting the research into population projections, microsimulation, and wellbeing and ageing. In July 2007 Dr Suzan van der Pas was appointed as a part-time Senior Research Fellow in the Population Studies Centre to carry out research on social dimensions of ageing in the EWAS programme. more...

Economic Impact of Immigration Research Programme (2005-2008)

The New Zealand Government approved a three-year programme of new research on the economic impacts of immigration (EII) that is funded from the Cross Departmental Research Pool. The EII programme commenced in autumn 2005 and finishes at the end of 2008. The programme, of nearly 1 million dollars in new research, is administered by the Department of Labour. Professor Jacques Poot convenes the International Experts Panel for this research.

More information about the programme can be found on the website

Integration of Immigrants Programme (2007-2012)

This five-year FRST-funded research programme, which commenced in July 2007, has two linked objectives. The first of these, led by Professor Jacques Poot, uses data from the 1996, 2001 and 2006 censuses and the longitudinal immigration survey (LisNZ) to provide an econometric model of the integration of immigrant cohorts that takes account of both demand and supply side factors that determine labour market outcomes. This objective extends considerably 1990s research in this area in New Zealand. The second objective, led by Professor Paul Spoonley of Massey University, generates new information on the economic strategies and activities of immigrant families and communities in both the formal labour market as well as in a variety of formal and non-formal ethnic-related settings, including family businesses, non-paid domestic and family economic activity, self employment, and paid and unpaid community work. This objective also draws on the 2006 Census and the LisNZ, especially with reference to the social contexts provided by families, households and communities, for the economic incorporation of immigrants and their adult children, and allows investigation of the role and impact of social and cultural networks in supporting and facilitating economic incorporation. The core research team also includes Professor Richard Bedford and Dr Elsie Ho. 

For a comprehensive programme overview, including the methodology, current research activities, history of new settlers and publication information visit

Settlement and Circulation of New Zealanders Living in Australia: Patterns, Dynamics and Analysis (2005-2008)

One in ten New Zealand citizens lives in Australia, making up the largest concentration of New Zealanders in any overseas country. Trans-Tasman migration is a major driver of New Zealand’s international migration system, and New Zealand is Australia’s largest single-country source of migrants. Yet despite the importance of this population movement for both countries, very little is known about the ongoing movement of New Zealanders who have gone to Australia. In 2005, Dr Elsie Ho and Professor Jacques Poot were awarded a Marsden grant for a research programme to examine for the first time the multiple moves of individual New Zealanders who have moved to Australia. The research aims to give a new understanding of current patterns of settlement and circulation of New Zealanders in Australia. The research team also includes Professor Richard Bedford, (PSC) and Professor Graeme Hugo of the University of Adelaide. A research student, Lynda Sanderson carried out a statistical analysis of the database of the movements of New Zealanders for her MPhil thesis in 2006. Since 2006, Professor Philip McCann of the Waikato Management School, University of Waikato joined the team for developing microeconomic theoretical perspectives on short-run mobility of migrants. more...

Educational Capital, Employment and Missing Men (2007-2010)

Recent research work funded by the Department of Labour through its “Future of Work” programme demonstrated that increasing numbers of men appear to be “missing” from some of the data bases that are used to develop the social and economic indicators used to measure outcomes. This three-year FRST-funded research programme, led by Dr Paul Callister of the Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, addresses the trend towards ‘loss’ of a group of men in our statistics and, in some situations, in reality in education, in family life, in labour market participation and our population generally. The core research team includes, among others, Professor Richard Bedford who is one of the objective leaders, Robert Didham (Statistics NZ), James Newell (MERA) and Tahu Kukutai (Stanford University).

Ageing in Place: Empowering Older People to Repair and Maintain Safe and Comfortable Houses in Their Communities (2007-2012)

Dr Elsie Ho coordinates the New Settler case study of this five-year FRST-funded research programme led by Kay Saville-Smith of the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment (CRESA). The programme aims at optimising New Zealanders’ ability to age positively as valued, integral members of their families and communities by reducing older people’s displacement because of poor house condition and performance. The research recognises that New Zealand has limited resources and investments to address the repair/maintenance needs of older people. Therefore responses must be based on robust evidence about the prevalence, impacts and dynamics of dilapidated housing for older New Zealanders. Four neighbourhood case studies (Sandringham, Waiheke Island, Kawerau and Malborough) and a case study of older Chinese new settlers involving dwelling condition and performance assessment, together with national surveys of housing and housing service providers and stakeholders’ interviews, are used to explore whether older people have distinctive repair/maintenance practices and investment behaviours. Demonstration models will be developed to test effective solutions to support older people to repair and maintain their dwellings. The core research team also includes: Dr Bev James (Public Policy & Research Ltd.), Professor Robin Kearns (University of Auckland) and Nigel Isaacs (BRANZ). A research student, Wen Li, was awarded a Tertiary Education Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship to undertake research linked to the New Settler case study.

Circulatory Transmigration: A New Paradigm Exploring Chinese Mobility (2007-2010)

Dr Elsie Ho is a valued member of this three-year research programme led by Associate Professor Manying Ip (University of Auckland) and funded by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. During the past two decades, the phenomenon of the ‘new Chinese migration wave’ has attracted considerable attention from migration scholars and policy makers internationally. One of the most salient features of this ‘new Chinese migration’ is their transnational practices. The migration is not a permanent, one-way movement, as described in the traditional ‘settler’ migration model. It contains frequent movements back to the migrants’ former homelands and to other countries. The programme aims to explore the many facets associated with Chinese transmigration by multiple-site research (in Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) conducted on multi-generational members of migrant families. Other member of the core research team includes Professor Nora Chiang (National Taiwan University).