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New Zealanders are satisfied with their overall well-being
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  29 October 2009

New Zealand General Social Survey: 2008  –  Media Release

The first New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) shows that 86 percent of New Zealanders are satisfied with their life overall, Statistics New Zealand said today. The NZGSS gives information about key social and economic outcomes across a number of areas of life.

“The focus of the survey is a broad view of how New Zealanders are doing across many areas of life,” said Statistics New Zealand Manager Conal Smith.

The survey contains a mixture of self-assessed measures, traditional measures, and new measures, which combine to give a full view of well-being in one survey. It includes New Zealanders' assessments of their health, the environment, and social contact with family and friends. It collects information about fields where there has been little official information available, for example, volunteering, emergency preparedness, and housing problems. Traditional measures such as income, tenure, employment, and education are also included.

“This combination of data is useful because it shows how changes in economic and social conditions, such as health and income, affect New Zealanders’ lives. We can also find out which conditions have the most impact on people and who is most affected.

“The NZGSS provides regular, accessible information across many social dimensions in order to monitor and support decisions made about social spending; an area that accounts for a considerable proportion of Crown expenditure. Statistics New Zealand is making this new data source available from today. Results from the NZGSS are also of interest to the public.

“A key finding is that most people are satisfied or very satisfied with their life in New Zealand overall. This high level of satisfaction is broadly comparable with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries where this type of survey is conducted, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.”

Other key findings from the NZGSS include:

  • Around 1 in 7 people said they did not have enough money to meet their everyday needs.
  • More than 80 percent of people had some sort of contact with family living outside their household, at least once in the last month.
  • Despite this, one-quarter of people felt they did not have enough contact with non-resident family, and one-fifth reported not having enough contact with non-resident friends.
  • Half of people reported one or more problems relating to their house, street, or neighbourhood.
  • 1 in 10 people had been discriminated against in the past 12 months. The most common grounds were 'nationality, race, or ethnic group'.
  • However, over 90 percent of people agreed that it is good that people in New Zealand can have different values and ways of living.
  • Unemployed people were around two-to-three times more likely than people who were employed or not in the labour force to say they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with life overall.
  • One-third of people undertook voluntary work and about two-thirds had done unpaid work outside the household in the last four weeks.

Mr Smith thanked New Zealanders for taking part in the first NZGSS.

Cathryn Ashley-Jones  29 October 2009
Acting Government Statistician  


For more information contact:
Deborah Potter
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

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