In order to be a great place for people, cities need to attract and retain business and investment to provide a strong economy.

The attractiveness of a city derives from the social and economic activities and services on offer, a highly skilled workforce, and the quality of the physical and built environment. These contribute to the look and feel of the cityscape, people’s sense of and attachment to the place, and economic growth within the city.

What this means for our district

  • Christchurch residents enjoy a high quality of life.
  • Christchurch is recognised for its ease of doing business.
  • We have a highly skilled and educated workforce.
  • Christchurch has a reputation for innovation and creativity, and is an attractive place for entrepreneurs.

How we are contributing

The Council has established ChristchurchNZ(external link) and Development Christchurch Limited (DCL)(external link) as Council Controlled Organisations to help ensure opportunities for innovation and economic development are seized for the city. They work to promote the city as a great place to invest in, and to facilitate investment opportunities.

How you can help

Support local businesses whenever you can. Look to source supplies locally where possible. Let your friends and family outside the city know that Christchurch is a great place to live and work.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
Negative result

Overall quality of life

Over the period 2010 to 2018, the proportion of residents who felt their overall quality of life was good or extremely good fell from 95% to 83%. Further information.

Positive result

Highest qualification

Since 1986, the number of Christchurch residents without formal qualifications has declined by 40% to 49,000.

Between 1986 and 2013, residents with a university qualification increased by 390%, from 13,700 to 53,300. Further information.

Mixed resultIndeterminate Result
Skilled migrant applications

In the year to June 2018, approved skilled migrant visa applications for Canterbury declined by 35% to 1126. Between June 2014 and June 2017, the annual number of approved applicants averaged 1655. Further information.

Mixed result
Indeterminate Result
Innovation cities index Christchurch's innovative city score has increased from 37 to 39 (out of 60) since the 2012/13 year, however Christchurch is over 100 places below Wellington and Auckland in the index. Further information.
Mixed result
Indeterminate Result
Business 'births' as a percentage of turnover From 2012 until 2017, business 'births' made up more than 50% of business turnover, peaking in 2014; in 2018 it fell to 48.5%. Further information.

Overall quality of life

Prior to the earthquakes, the Quality of Life Survey found that overall quality of life increased throughout the 2000s, with 95% of residents rating their overall quality of life in Christchurch as good or extremely good in 2010.

Following the earthquakes, the proportion of people who rated their overall quality of life in Christchurch as good or extremely good declined from 95% to 77% in 2012. It has fluctuated since, and 2018 was the highest since the earthquakes at 83%. This was only slightly lower than the national average of 84%.

Fewer than 5% have described their quality of life as poor or very poor since the earthquakes, matching the national average.

Highest qualification

Christchurch's working age population (over 15 year of age) is getting more highly skilled. Since 1986, the number of people with no qualification has declined by 40%, to 49,700 in 2013.

Those with a university qualification have increased from 13,700 to 53,300, an increase of 390% between 1986 and 2013. University qualified residents now make up 21% of the working age population, compared with 7% in 1986.

Skilled migrant visa applications

Between 2007 and 2010, the number of foreign residents who had approved skilled migrant visas in Canterbury decreased from 1274 to 866. There was also a decline in the proportion of all approved applicants coming to Canterbury, falling from 11% of national applicants to 7.3%.

Between 2013 and 2014, there was a large increase in approved skilled visa applications for Canterbury, from 775 to 1631. This high number of approved applicants continued until 2017. In the 2018 year to June, the number of approved skilled migrant visa applications declined by 35% to 1126. New Zealand experienced a 30% decline in approved skilled migrant visas in the same period.

Since 2014, Canterbury has had around 14% of New Zealand's skilled migrant applicants. 

Innovation cities index

The innovative cities score(external link) for Christchurch has been increasing each year since the earthquakes, from a score of 37 (out of a maximum of 60) in 2012/13 to 39 in 2017/18 .

Compared with the other New Zealand cities in the index, Christchurch is still a couple of points behind Wellington (42) and Auckland (42). However, both of these cities have declined from a peak of 46 in recent years.

Out of the 500 cities that are included in the index, Christchurch is ranked 200, while Wellington is 100th and Auckland 96th in the 2017/18 year.  Christchurch's ranking has improved considerably from 341st in 2014.

Business births as a percentage of turnover

Newly created businesses (births) as a percentage of business turnover (births and deaths) is a measure of business entrepreneurship.

In Christchurch between 2002 and 2017 (excluding the period immediately during and after the earthquakes) business births outnumbered deaths, with over 50% of turnover being from births.

Since the earthquakes, births as a percentage of turnover peaked at 62% in 2014. This proportion has decreased annually since, and fell to below 50% in 2018.

Further information

Please email for further information.

Liability statement

Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in processing, analysing and reporting the information provided in these web pages and reports. However, the Christchurch City Council gives no warranty that the information in these web pages and reports contain no errors. The Council shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered consequent upon the use directly, or indirectly, of the information supplied in this publication.