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This report looks at how the skills of New Zealand adults compare to other countries and how they have changed over time. Also explored is how skills in New Zealand vary by age, ethnicity, gender and migration status.

The Survey of Adult Skills measures the skills of New Zealand adults in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology rich environments. It is part of the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). The Survey of Adult Skills provides the first picture of skills for those aged 16 to 65 in New Zealand since 2006.

The key findings are:

• New Zealand adults' literacy and problem solving skills are on average among the highest in the OECD

• New Zealand adults' numeracy skills are on average higher than the OECD average

• Although there are significant differences in skills between ethnic groups, average literacy and numeracy skills have been rising faster among Māori and Pasifika than in the total New Zealand population

• Overseas-born New Zealanders have on average higher literacy and numeracy scores than overseas-born people in any other country

• While there are no differences in average literacy and problem solving skills between men and women, men have higher numeracy skills on average than women

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