Factors affecting Pacific peoples’ health

The reasons for the relatively poor health of Pacific peoples in New Zealand are numerous and complex.

The social and economic factors that have been shown to have the greatest influence of health are income and poverty, employment and occupation, education, housing, and ethnicity:

  • 27 percent of Pacific peoples meet the criteria for living in severe hardship compared to 8 percent of the total population. In addition, 15 percent of Pacific peoples live in significant hardship, with only 1 percent enjoying ‘very good living standards’.
  • Pacific peoples are less likely to own their own homes (26 percent compared to 55 percent nationally) and more likely to live in overcrowded households.
  • the Pacific unemployment rate is nearly twice the national unemployment rate.
  • lifestyle factors, including values and preferences, can influence how Pacific peoples view health care.
  • under utilisation of primary and preventative health care services by Pacific peoples and lower rates of selected secondary care interventions.

On average, Pacific peoples are more exposed to these risk factors than other New Zealanders.

With a better understanding of the contributing factors and the interplay between them, it will be possible to tailor solutions to the chronic disease problem among Pacific peoples.

Back to top