Recent migrants to New Zealand are more likely to feel discriminated against than people born in New Zealand and long-term migrants who have been here for five or more years, Stats NZ said today.

“Recent migrants, those who’ve lived here less than five years, are also less likely to feel it's easy to be themselves in New Zealand than long-term migrants and New Zealand-born people,” labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

According to the 2016 General Social Survey (GSS), about 26 per cent of recent migrants said they’d felt discriminated against in the previous 12 months, compared with about 16 per cent for both long-term migrants, and people born in New Zealand.

“Newer migrants were more trusting of other people, and also felt safer than long-term migrants and New Zealand-born people,” Mr Attewell said.

On average, recent migrants rated their trust in most New Zealand people at 7.5 (0–10 scale, with 0 being ‘no trust at all’). In contrast, this rating was 7.2 for long-term migrants and 6.7 for people born in New Zealand.

The GSS is the official measure of social well-being in New Zealand; it asks more than 8,000 people how they feel about life. In the 2016 GSS, 30 per cent of people living in New Zealand were migrants, with the balance being born in the country. Five per cent of the total New Zealand population were recent migrants.

Recent migrants feel safer in their neighbourhood than other groups

Compared with long-term migrants and people born in New Zealand, recent migrants were more likely to feel safe using or waiting for public transport at night, and when walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark. This was particularly the case for people aged 25 to 44 years, who made up two-thirds of the recent migrant group.

A significantly larger proportion of recent female migrants felt safe using public transport and walking alone after dark when compared with women born in New Zealand. When using public transport at night, 57 per cent of recent female migrants said they felt safe or very safe compared with 30 per cent for New Zealand-born women.

The differences in feeling safe between women and men were also smaller for recent migrants when compared with people born in New Zealand.

The type of neighbourhood people lived in had a strong association with how safe people felt. People from more deprived areas were less likely to feel safe; 32 per cent of recent migrants lived in the most deprived areas in New Zealand. This compares with 27 per cent of long-term migrants and 29 per cent of New Zealand-born people living in these areas.

“Recent migrants always felt safer than other people living in the same area, regardless of how deprived the area was,” Mr Attewell said. “This could be because some recent migrants feel New Zealand is a safer place to live than where they originally came from."

This information comes from the GSS we conducted between 2016 and 2017. Survey data is progressively released over time, as we analyse different aspects.