About Rural New Zealand

Rural areas, by their very nature as small populations, are very hard to quantify and at this time information is only available at the general level.

Information currently available indicates that, as a proportion of population, rural has more under 14 year olds than urban while urban has a larger percentage of population over the age of 60 years.

New Zealanders living rurally and in minor urban areas are under-represented in hospital discharges and life expectancy is lower in rural than in urban populations.

Using telephone and motor vehicles as a proxy for access shows that rural populations are disadvantaged along with their minor urban counterparts in comparison to the urban population.

The implementation of Primary Health Organisations with the focus on analysis of local needs and development of locally driven population health strategies is designed to respond to the disparities identified in the above information.

The New Zealand Institute of Rural Health is working to provide more robust data analysis of rural areas. We’ll be building on the health needs analyses undertaken by the various district health boards in the North Island and ensuring information on health professionals in rural areas is kept up to date, with the view to providing trend analysis on an ongoing basis.