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Most Kiwis are satisfied with life and feel connected to family and Aotearoa
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  20 July 2017

Well-being Statistics: 2016  –  Media Release

Most New Zealanders say they are highly comfortable with their lives, Stats NZ said today. Around 83 percent rated their overall life satisfaction at 7 or above on a 0–10 scale. The result was similar in 2014.

Kiwis also say they have a strong sense of belonging to family and to country, according to New Zealand’s biggest survey of well-being – the General Social Survey (GSS).

Freedom, rights, and peace; and the natural scenery and environment, rated as extremely important factors in defining New Zealand, the survey of almost 9,000 New Zealanders shows. However, older people were more likely than young people to rate farming as extremely important in defining New Zealand.



Note: Results are subject to error. People were asked to rate each theme on a scale from 0-10, with 0 being not at all important and 10 being extremely important.

The GSS was carried out around the country in 2016/17. The first survey was conducted in 2008/09.

In the latest GSS about 18 percent of New Zealanders said they had more than enough money to meet everyday needs, up from around 13 percent in 2008. Just under 11 percent of people said they did not have enough money to meet their needs for housing, food, clothing, and necessities. This was down from the 15 percent who said they did not have enough for the basics in 2008.

“The economy was shrinking in 2008, with GDP down in each quarter that year and the unemployment rate rising too,” senior analyst Dr Rosemary Goodyear said. “In contrast, in 2016 the economy grew more than 3 percent.”

As well as asking about having enough to live on, the GSS also asked if people had good health, were lonely, or had problems with their housing. In 2016, just under one-quarter (24 percent) of New Zealanders had good outcomes in all four of these aspects of life. However, almost 5 percent did not have good outcomes in any of these.

“One in 20 people reported a poor outcome in these aspects of life and more than half of those people rated their overall satisfaction with life at 6 or less on a scale of zero to 10,” Dr Goodyear said.

For the first time the GSS included disability status. The 2016/17 survey had new questions that allowed separate findings for disabled and non-disabled people. The specific measure used to identify disabled people is the Washington Group Short Set (WGSS).

Improving New Zealand disability data has more information about the WGSS.


For media enquiries contact: James Weir, 021 2859191,
Authorised by Teresa Dickinson, Acting Government Statistician, 20 July 2017

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