3 Aug 2020

More Māori, Pasifika in damp, mouldy homes than previously reported

5:53 pm on 3 August 2020

The proportion of Māori and Pasifika living in damp or mouldy housing is even worse than earlier figures suggested, Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ) now says.

Damp and mold on window and frame.

Photo: 123RF

Earlier this year, Stats NZ released its findings on people living in occupied private dwellings. The information was taken from the first ever nationwide data collected on household damp and mould, gathered in the 2018 Census.

The Census asked the degree to which a house was damp, sometimes damp, or always damp. Dampness is defined as when a dwelling feels or smells damp or has damp patches on the wall, ceiling, floor or window frames.

It has since revised its findings, and is now basing its figures on the total number of people who answered either the mould or damp question, rather than the total population.

The updated figures show 40.3 percent of Māori and 45.9 percent of Pacific people lived in damp homes at the time of the Census, compared with just 24.2 percent for New Zealand overall.

Thirty-three percent of Māori and 41.8 percent of Pacific people were living in homes with mould larger than a sheet of A4-paper at the time of the Census.

Stats NZ said the method used for the earlier figures assumed that not answering the question was equivalent to indicating no occurrence of mould or damp.

"Based on feedback from key data users, we have changed our methodology to instead calculate figures using the total number of people who answered either the mould or damp question ('total people stated')," the government's official statistics department said.

"This excludes people who did not answer and is more in line with how we calculate figures for other census questions."

Stats NZ said children and teenagers were more likely than other age groups to live in mouldy homes.

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