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New Zealand General Social Survey: 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 May 2015

About the New Zealand General Social Survey

The 2014 New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) is the fourth survey of the series which provides information about multiple aspects of the well-being of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over.

This information release looks at people who chose 7 or above on two 0–10 well-being scales, to focus analysis on those with high levels of self-rated well-being.

More definitions

Crowding: calculates the proportion of the population living in crowded housing or who require one or more additional bedrooms, as defined by the Canadian National Occupancy Standard.

We calculate crowding using the following criteria: 

  • There should be no more than two people per bedroom; parents or couples share a bedroom. 
  • Children aged under five years, either of same or opposite sex, may reasonably share a bedroom. 
  • Children aged under 18 years of the same sex may reasonably share a bedroom. 
  • A child aged five to 17 years should not share a bedroom with one aged under five of the opposite sex; single adults aged 18 years and over and any unpaired children require a separate bedroom.

Ethnicity: the ethnic group(s) that people identify with or feel they belong to. It is a measure of cultural affiliation rather than race, ancestry, nationality, or citizenship. 

See New Zealand Standard Classification of Ethnicity 2005 for more information.

This release uses level 1 of the ‘total response’ classification. Respondents determined their own ethnic groups and could identify with more than one.

Total response counts the number of responses for each ethnic group, not the number of people. This means that people who told us they belonged to more than one ethnic group would be counted in each of those ethnic groups.

For confidentiality and analytical reasons, we’ve used the four major ethnic groups: European, Māori, Pacific peoples, and Asian.

Family type: family composition within households (using level 1 of the New Zealand Classification of Family Types 2008). This release uses the three categories in the classification and a fourth category for people who are not in a family nucleus: 

  • couple without children – couples who don’t have children and couples whose children have left home 
  • couple with child(ren) – couples and their child(ren) who live with them 
  • one-parent with child(ren) – one adult with child(ren) who live with them 
  • not in a family nucleus – someone living by themselves or someone who is flatting.

Highest qualification: measures a person’s highest level of formal education. It uses the 13 categories provided by the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications (2003). We’ve combined the 13 categories into five groups. They are:

  • no qualification – no formal qualifications 
  • level 1–4 certificate – all secondary school qualifications including school certificate, sixth form certificate, university entrance, NCEA or national certificate 1, 2, 3, or 4, trade certificate, and people with an overseas secondary school qualification 
  • level 5–6 diploma – vocational qualifications including nursing or teaching diplomas, and advanced trade certificates or diplomas 
  • bachelor’s degree or level 7 qualification
  • postgraduate, honours, masters, or doctorate degree.

Labour force status: a respondent’s position in the labour force in one of three groups: employed, unemployed, or not in the labour force. This measure is based on the New Zealand Standard Classification of Labour Force Status 1999 and refers to the respondent's circumstances in a defined time period

Life-stages: age groupings that reflect the different experiences people have at different times in their lives (eg like being in education, working, forming families, and retirement). These stages are:

  • young people (15–24 years) 
  • prime working age (25–44 years) 
  • middle-age (45–64 years) 
  • older people (65 years and over).

Overall life satisfaction: a self-reported measure that makes up one aspect of people’s self-rated well-being. It has changed for the 2014 NZGSS. In 2014, we asked respondents how they felt about their lives overall on a response scale of 0–10 (completely dissatisfied to completely satisfied).

Personal income: the respondent’s before-tax income in the previous 12 months. We collect it as an income range rather than an actual dollar amount. We combined the 16 categories into four groups for this release.

Self-rated well-being: describes the two measures of well-being used in the NZGSS. Overall life satisfaction and sense of purpose are only two aspects of subjective or perceived well-being, but they are described as ‘self-rated well-being’ in this release for clarity and brevity.

Sense of purpose: a self-reported measure we use to look at people’s self-rated well-being. It tells us whether people felt they had a sense of purpose or meaning in life.

We asked respondents if they felt that the things they did in life were worthwhile, using a 0–10 scale. People who reported 0 felt their lives were not at all worthwhile; those who reported 10 felt their lives were completely worthwhile.

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