This table shows the percentage of income earned by each decile (tenth) of the population aged 15 and over, based on census returns. The top part, covering the years 1951 to 1981, is derived from market income, which excludes the effect of state benefits. During those years the distribution appears to have become more equal, with the poorer 60% of the population increasing their share of income from 12.5% to 17.3%. The bottom part of the table shows the figures for total income which includes benefits. The effect of the benefit cuts of 1991 is clearly apparent. Since then there is some evidence of increasing inequality, with the bottom 60% of the population receiving 27.5% of total income in 1991 and 24.6% in 2013.
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Source: Brian Easton, 'Economic inequality in New Zealand: a user's guide.' New Zealand Sociology Volume 28, no. 3 (2013): 19-66