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We get by with a little help from our friends (and family)
A whopping 97 percent of us can turn to family for help and support, according to new research from Statistics New Zealand.

Two articles released today shows that nearly everyone is able to draw on support from family (97 percent), and most also get support from their friends (88 percent). Immediate family members provide us with the most help. Nearly two-thirds of us are supported by our partner or spouse and half by our parents.

“Having friends and family who can help and maintain us in times of need can be a buffer to life’s stresses and challenges,” says household statistics manager Diane Ramsay. “They make life easier by lending their skills and advice, or just as a listening ear.”

While this high overall level of support is good for New Zealanders, some groups are less likely to be able to call on such networks. Single parents were more likely to have no supportive family than people in couples. And nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of people aged 65+ said they had no supportive friends.

“We also know the ways people stay in touch varies enormously. Some use phone or Skype, others write letters. However, face-to-face contact is still the best form of social contact,” said Ms Ramsay. “People need personal interactions to develop and maintain relationships and connections.”

New Zealanders agree. When friends or family live in the same neighbourhood or town, getting together face-to-face is the main way people stay in touch. 

How supportive are our families? and Who are our supportive friends? report on information from the 2014 New Zealand General Social Survey. The two articles focus on the connections New Zealanders aged 15 years or older have with their family and friends.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Diane Ramsay, Wellington 04 931 4600, info@stats.govt.nz
Published 8 October 2015
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