In this section, we look at changes in social indicators for New Zealanders since the mid-1990s. Using the 34 indicators with new information in this report, we summarise these changes and compare New Zealand’s outcomes with those of other OECD countries. We show how different population groups have fared: Māori, Pacific peoples, Asian and Other ethnicities. We also describe differences by sex and socio-economic group.
Changes over time
Social outcomes in New Zealand have improved since the mid-1990s
Overall, New Zealanders generally have good outcomes for the measures in this report. Most of the indicators show positive trends since the mid-1990s, or the latest year for which data is available. A small number of these indicators show improvements since the mid-1990s, but little change or slight declines in the most recent years. Three indicators – obesity, housing affordability and voter turnout – show a deterioration since the mid-1990s.
Better health outcomes compared with the mid-1990s
Four of the six indicators in the Health domain show positive trends since the mid-1990s. Both health expectancy and life expectancy have improved, and the proportion of the population who smoke cigarettes has fallen, although there was little change between 2006 and 2008. Fewer young people are taking up smoking: daily smoking rates for 14–15 year olds more than halved over the decade to 2008. The suicide death rate has also improved since the mid-1990s, but was no better in 2006 than it was in the mid-1980s. On the other hand, the prevalence of obesity among adults increased between 1996/1997 and 2006/2007 and there was no change in the proportion of drinkers with a potentially hazardous drinking pattern over that time.
Progress in education participation and achievement
Trends in education participation and achievement are largely positive. Participation in early childhood education at ages 3 and 4 years has continued to increase. In tertiary education, participation was higher in 2008 than it was in the mid-1990s but has declined since 2005, largely because of falling enrolments in certificate-level courses and among people aged 25 years and over. Since the introduction of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in 2003, the proportion of school leavers gaining NCEA Level 2 or above has improved. The proportion of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification has almost doubled since the mid-1990s but showed no change between 2007 and 2008. Adult literacy in English (prose and document literacy skills at Level 3 or above) improved over the decade to 2006, for people aged 25–65 years.
Improved Paid Work outcomes but impact of recession showing
While all the indicators in the Paid Work domain with long-term trend data show improvement from the mid-1990s, two reflect the impact of the economic recession over the year to March 2009. The unemployment rate increased in the year to March 2009 although it remained considerably lower than it was a decade earlier. Similarly, the employment rate worsened in the year to March 2009, falling slightly after reaching historically high levels in 2007 and 2008. Real median hourly earnings increased by 17 per cent in the decade to 2007, but there was no change in the latest year. The rate of workplace injury claims fell over the decade. The proportion of employed New Zealanders reporting satisfaction with their work-life balance was similar in 2006 and 2008.
Mixed outcomes in the Economic Standard of Living domain
Several indicators in the Economic Standard of Living domain show a stalling or reversal of improving trends in the latest year. Market income per person fell slightly in the year to March 2009, reflecting the recession, although it remained considerably higher than it was in the mid-1990s. Income inequality increased between 1994 and 2004 but had decreased by 2007. In 2008, the income inequality ratio was about the same as in the previous year, and similar to the ratio of a decade ago. The proportion of the population with low incomes improved considerably between the mid-1990s and 2007, but changed little in the year to June 2008. Housing affordability, measured by the proportion of households spending more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on housing, worsened in both 2007 and 2008, reversing an improvement from 1997 to 2004. For households in the lowest 20 per cent of the income distribution, housing affordability continued to improve between 2004 and 2007 and although it worsened in 2008, it was still better than it had been a decade earlier. Household crowding improved between 1996 and 2006.
Some improvement in Civil and Political Rights outcomes
In the Civil and Political Rights domain, outcomes have generally improved or remained stable. While voter turnout in general elections has declined since the mid-1990s, there was little difference in turnout between the 2005 and 2008 elections. The outcome of the 2008 election saw further increases in the proportion of women and ethnic groups represented in Parliament. The perception that various groups are subject to discrimination fell for most groups compared between 2001 and 2008. However, in the latest year there was an increase in the proportion of people reporting that Pacific peoples, Asians, people who are overweight, and gays and lesbians were subject to discrimination. New Zealand’s score for perceived corruption remains highly favourable, with little change since the mid-1990s.
Cultural Identity outcomes are mixed
The proportion of local content programmes broadcast on television during prime-time hours was higher in 2008 than it was in the mid-1990s, but has fallen slightly since 2006. The proportion of Māori who can speak Māori declined slightly between 2001 and 2006 although the total number of Māori who can do so increased over this period. Between 2001 and 2006, most ethnic groups experienced little change in the proportion of people who could speak the first language of their ethnic group.
No change in the Leisure and Recreation domain
The proportion of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over who met the guidelines for being physically active was similar in 2002/2003 and 2006/2007, at around one half. There was no change between 2006 and 2008 in the proportion of people who were satisfied with their leisure time.
Physical Environment indicators have generally improved
There was an improvement in compliance with the Drinking-water Standards for E. coli and Cryptosporidium between 2001 and 2007/2008. Four of the five major cities averaged particulate matter (PM10) levels that met the annual air quality guidelines in 2008.
Safety outcomes have improved since the mid-1990s
Motor vehicle accident death rates were lower in 2008 than in 2007, continuing the steady improvement of the past 20 years. While the motor vehicle accident injury rate increased between 2000 and 2007, it fell slightly in 2008 and was lower than the rate in the period 1995–1997.
Trends in assault mortality are more difficult to discern because the rates are based on small numbers. Across all ages, the provisional assault mortality rate for 2006 was lower than the rate in 2005, and lower than the rates in the mid-1990s. The child assault death rate for the period 2002–2006 was lower than the rate for the two previous five-year periods.
There is no trend information for criminal victimisation or fear of crime because of changes in the survey design. In 2005, 40 per cent of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over said fear of crime had a moderate or high impact on their quality of life and 39 per cent of New Zealanders reported experiencing some form of criminal victimisation.
There have been some improvements in the Social Connectedness domain
There was a large improvement in the proportion of people with access to the internet at home between 2001 and 2006. Over the same period, the proportion of people with access to a telephone in their home increased slightly, to 98 per cent. Adults in 2004 were as likely to have had friends or family over for a meal at least once a month as adults in 2000. There was no change between 2006 and 2008 in the proportion of people who said they believed people can be trusted, and in the proportion who reported having felt lonely during the past 12 months. There was a decline between 2001 and 2007 in the proportion of secondary school students who reported that most weeks they were able to spend enough time with either their Mum or Dad.
Figure SU1 Changes in social indicators, 1996–1998 to 2006–2008
Interpreting "Changes in social indicators, 1996–1998 to 2006–2008"
The circle represents average for each indicator between 1996 and 1998, and the spokes represent outcomes between 2006 and 2008. Where possible, the data is averaged over the three years in these two time periods. Where a spoke falls outside the circle, this means outcomes have improved over the decade; the further from the circle it falls, the larger the improvement. Where a spoke falls within the circle, outcomes in this area have deteriorated over the decade; the further the spoke is from the circle, the more pronounced the deterioration. An important limitation on this style of presentation is that we cannot directly compare the size of changes for different indicators. Also, the absence of trend data for some indicators limits the number of indicators we can display. Most of the latest data is from 2006–2008, with the exception of suicide and assault mortality (both 2004–2006).
New Zealand compared to OECD countries
New Zealand compares favourably to other OECD countries
For many indicators, New Zealand compares very well with other countries. New Zealand’s outcomes are better than, or similar to, the OECD median for around two-thirds of the 21 indicators for which there is internationally-comparable data.
New Zealand performs very well in the Civil and Political Rights domain. We are ranked first equal with Denmark and Sweden as the least corrupt of 30 OECD countries in 2008, and we are in the top third of those countries for the proportion of women in Parliament and for voter turnout.
Paid work is another area in which New Zealand performs strongly, with a relatively high employment rate, the seventh highest in 2008, and a relatively low unemployment rate, the 10th lowest (along with Australia), in 2008.
We also perform very well in the Social Connectedness area, with New Zealanders having a higher level of trust in others and a higher level of households with internet access than the OECD median.
In the area of Knowledge and Skills, New Zealand is above the OECD median for the proportion of adults who have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and for participation in tertiary education among 20–29 year olds. The proportion of New Zealand adults with prose and document literacy and numeracy skills in English at Level 3 or above is similar to the proportions in Australia and English-speaking Canada, and higher than the proportion in the United States.
In the Health domain, New Zealand’s results are mixed. Our life expectancy is similar to the OECD median, although there is a relatively narrow range of outcomes across the OECD for this indicator. New Zealand’s rates of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are slightly better than the OECD median. Among the countries that use actual measurements of obesity rather than self-reporting, our obesity rate is similar to those of Australia and the United Kingdom and lower than that of the United States. We have relatively high suicide death rates, particularly for youth.
New Zealand does not perform well in the Safety domain. Our road death rate was slightly higher than the OECD median in 2007, while data from 2003–2007 showed our homicide death rate was worse than the OECD median.
Our Economic Standard of Living results tend to be lower than those in many OECD countries. In 2004, New Zealand was near the middle of the OECD for population with low incomes and was higher than the OECD median for income inequality. In 2008, New Zealand was below the OECD median for market income per person.
Figure SU2 Social indicators in New Zealand, relative to the OECD
Interpreting "Social indicators in New Zealand relative to the OECD"
This figure shows New Zealand relative to the OECD for 21 social indicators. The circle represents the OECD median for each indicator, and the spokes represent New Zealand’s outcomes relative to the OECD median. The irregularly shaped line outside the OECD median circle represents outcomes of the OECD upper quartile relative to the OECD median. Where a spoke falls inside the circle, outcomes in New Zealand are worse than the OECD median. Where the spoke falls outside the circle, outcomes in New Zealand are better than the OECD median. Where a spoke falls past the irregularly shaped line, New Zealand is in the top quarter of OECD outcomes.
For each indicator, the most recent data has been used where possible. Most of the data is for years between 2005 and 2008, but the population with low incomes and income inequality data is for 2004 and the assault mortality data is for 2003–2005.
SOME CAUTION IS REQUIRED WITH THIS DATA: international comparisons are difficult to interpret because of the different methods countries use to collect, classify and record social data. There were too few countries for adult literacy to include this indicator in the figure.
Changes in social indicators for selected population groups
In this section, we look at changes in social indicators over time for various population groups in New Zealand, and we compare their outcomes with those of the total New Zealand population. As in the first section of this summary, we focus on changes since the mid-1990s where possible, as well as on more recent changes.
It is important to note that comparisons are for population group averages: there is much variation within groups. For example, the risk of poor outcomes often varies by age: younger people have higher rates of unemployment, potentially hazardous drinking, suicide death and road transport accident death, and they have lower incomes than people in older age groups. For Māori and Pacific peoples, poor outcomes relative to those of the total New Zealand population may be partly attributable to the younger age structure of these ethnic groups. This should be kept in mind when comparing outcomes between groups for indicators where the data has not been age standardised.
Most indicators for Māori have improved since the mid-1990s
Most of the indicators for which we have time series data show improvements for Māori since the mid-1990s. In several instances, improvements have been greater for Māori than for the total population, including life expectancy, participation in tertiary education, employment and median hourly earnings. Despite improvements in these areas and others, average outcomes for Māori tend to be poorer than average outcomes for the total population.
Life expectancy at birth improved more for Māori than for non-Māori between 1995–1997 and 2005–2007. While this reduced the gap in life expectancy between Māori and non-Māori, it remains large.
Since 1996, suicide death rates have shown no obvious trend for Māori, although the small numbers of Māori suicide deaths make it hard to ascertain trends. The suicide death rate is higher for Māori than for non-Māori.
Smoking remains high among Māori, particularly Māori women, who have the highest cigarette smoking rate of any ethnic group in New Zealand.
In the Knowledge and Skills domain, outcomes for Māori have improved strongly in recent years. The increase in participation in early childhood education between 2000 and 2008 was greater for Māori children than for all school entrants, reducing the participation gap. Between 2003 and 2007, Māori students showed the greatest improvement in the proportion of students leaving school with a qualification at NCEA Level 2 or above, but they have the lowest level of educational attainment at this level. Māori have had the highest participation rate in tertiary education of any ethnic group since 2001. Māori tertiary education participation is higher than average at older age groups and in Levels 1–3 certificate courses. The proportion of Māori adults with tertiary qualifications at bachelor’s degree level or above has more than trebled since the mid-1990s.
Despite this substantial improvement, Māori are around half as likely as adults in general to have tertiary qualifications at degree level. Improvements in prose and document literacy in English between 1996 and 2006 were similar for Māori adults and adults in the total population. Māori are less likely than average to have literacy or numeracy skills at Level 3 or above.
The unemployment rate for Māori has halved since the mid-1990s, falling to a record low in 2007 but increasing in the year to March 2009. It is still the highest unemployment rate of any ethnic group. The employment rate for Māori increased strongly over the past decade and reached a record high in the year to March 2009, although it remained considerably below the average for the total population.
The real median hourly earnings of Māori increased by 20 per cent between June 1997 and June 2008, the highest percentage increase of any ethnic group. The ratio of Māori to European median hourly earnings was over 85 per cent for most years between 1998 and 2008. Māori have a higher rate of workplace injury claims than any other ethnic group. This is likely to reflect the relatively greater representation of Māori in more dangerous industries and occupations. Employed Māori were about as likely as employees generally to be satisfied with their work-life balance in 2008.
In the Economic Standard of Living domain, median household incomes for Māori improved over the decade to 2008. The proportion of households with at least one Māori adult spending more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on housing was a little lower in 2008 than in 1998.
Māori representation in Parliament declined between the 2005 and 2008 general elections, but remains higher than the representation of Pacific peoples and Asian ethnic groups and is similar to the Māori share of the total population.
The proportion of Māori who were satisfied with their leisure time was similar to the population average.
Māori continue to have poorer outcomes in the Safety domain. The assault mortality rate for Māori has fluctuated since 1996, with no clear trend. In 2006 Māori adults and children remained considerably more likely than non-Māori to die from an assault or intentional injury. The rate of death from motor vehicle accidents has changed little for Māori since 2000, while the rate for non-Māori has declined. In 2006, Māori were around two and a half times as likely as non-Māori to die in motor vehicle accidents.
In 2008, Māori reported a slightly lower than average level of trust in people and a higher than average level of loneliness. In 2007, Māori secondary school students were less likely than students overall to report that most of the time they get enough time with Mum and/or Dad.
Figure SU3 Social indicators for Māori, 1996–1998 or 2000–2002 to 2006–2008
Most indicators for Pacific peoples have improved since the mid-1990s
Pacific peoples, like Māori, have seen improvements in social indicators since the mid-1990s. While a number of these gains have been greater than those for the total New Zealand population, Pacific peoples’ outcomes overall are poor compared to those of the total population.
Only one of the health indicators has new information for Pacific peoples. As in previous years, Pacific peoples had the second highest cigarette smoking rate, after Māori, in 2008.
There have been considerable gains in educational participation for Pacific peoples over the past decade. The proportion of children who attended early childhood education before starting primary school increased at a faster rate for Pacific children than for all school entrants between 2000 and 2008. However, Pacific children continue to have the lowest participation rate at this level of education. Pacific peoples also had the largest increase in tertiary education participation between 2001 and 2008. In the latest year their overall participation rate was similar to that of Europeans, although higher proportions of Pacific students were enrolled in Levels 1–3 certificates. Education outcomes have also improved. The proportion of Pacific students leaving school with a qualification at NCEA Level 2 or above increased between 2003 and 2007 but was lower than the average for all students.
The proportion of Pacific peoples with tertiary qualifications in 2008 had increased more than threefold since the mid-1990s. Despite this substantial improvement, Pacific peoples were around a third as likely as adults in general to have tertiary qualifications at degree level in 2008. The proportion of Pacific adults with prose and document literacy in English at Level 3 or above declined between 1996 and 2006, against an upward trend for the total population. Pacific adults in 2006 were around half as likely as adults in general to have prose and document literacy skills in English at Level 3 or above, and around a third as likely to have numeracy skills at these levels.
All three indicators in the Paid Work domain for which there is data for Pacific peoples show a strong improvement since the mid-1990s. The unemployment rate for Pacific peoples fell markedly from the mid-1990s to 2006, but increased in the year to March 2009. The employment rate for Pacific peoples improved at a faster than average rate over the decade but fell slightly in the year to March 2009. The real median hourly earnings of Pacific peoples increased by 14 per cent between 1997 and 2008, compared to 17 per cent for the total population. Pacific peoples reported a lower than average level of satisfaction with their work-life balance in 2008. Pacific peoples have the second highest rate of workplace injury after Māori.
Median household incomes for Pacific peoples generally improved over the decade to 2008. The trend in housing affordability followed a similar pattern of improvement over the decade, but deterioration in the latest year. The proportion of households with at least one Pacific adult spending more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on housing was lower in 2008 than in 1998.
In 2008, Pacific adults reported lower than average levels of trust in others, and higher than average levels of loneliness. Pacific secondary school students were less likely than students on average to report that they got enough time with one or both of their parents.
Figure SU4 Social indicators for Pacific peoples, 1996–1998 or 2000–2002 to 2006–2008
Asian and other ethnicities
Outcomes for Asian and other ethnicities are mixed
A small number of indicators in this report include information for ethnic groups other than European, Māori and Pacific peoples. Some surveys report separate data for Asian people, and larger surveys sometimes provide a further breakdown for smaller groups, referred to collectively as the “Other ethnic group". In other cases, data for Asian and the smaller ethnic groups are combined into a single category. We refer to the latter as “Other (including Asian)" in this section. This inconsistency between data sources should be taken into account when assessing outcomes for these population groups. The diverse and changing make-up of the Other ethnic group category probably contributes to the mixed outcomes evident for these ethnic groups.
In the Health domain, Asians aged 15–64 years had the lowest cigarette smoking rate of all ethnic groups in 2008, around half that of the total population in that age group.
Participation in early childhood education grew faster for Asian children and children from the Other ethnic group, than for all children between 2000 and 2008. In 2008, these children were about as likely as children in general to have attended an early childhood education service before going to primary school. The proportion of Asian school leavers with a qualification at NCEA Level 2 or above increased from 2003 to 2007 and was consistently highest. For school leavers in the Other ethnic group, the improvement was greater but the proportion with NCEA Level 2 or above remained close to the average for all students. Asians aged 15 years and over had the second highest tertiary education participation rate in 2008 (after Māori), and the highest participation rate for degree level qualifications.
A high proportion of adults from the Other (including Asian) ethnic group have tertiary qualifications at bachelor’s degree level or higher, almost double that of all adults aged 25–64 years in 2008. The proportion of Asian adults with prose and document literacy skills in English at Level 3 or above increased between 1996 and 2006 but remained lower than the average for all adults. The proportion of Asian adults with numeracy skills in English at these levels was also lower than average in 2006.
The unemployment rate for the Other (including Asian) ethnic group has fallen substantially since the mid-1990s but increased slightly in the year to March 2009. It remains considerably higher than the rate for the total labour force. Growth in the employment rate for this group has been faster than average since the mid-1990s, and continued to increase in the year to March 2009.
Median hourly earnings for wage and salary earners in the Other (including Asian) category ranked second after those of Europeans in 2008.
Between 1997 and 2008, this group experienced the lowest percentage increase in real median hourly earnings from wage and salary jobs (6 per cent). The rate of work-related injury claims for the Other (including Asian) ethnic group in 2007 was similar to rate for all full-time equivalent employees for that year.
Median household incomes for the Other ethnic group improved between the mid-1990s and 2008. While the long-run trend is positive, robust comparisons between survey years are not possible. The proportion of households with at least one adult from the Other ethnic group spending more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on housing was better in 2008 than in 1998, but similar to the 2001 level.
Asian people were again the group most likely to be perceived as being subject to a great deal or some discrimination in 2008 and the proportion of people perceiving Asians as being in this situation increased between 2007 and 2008.
In 2008, people of the Asian ethnic group reported lower than average levels of trust in others, and were more likely than people in general to report having felt isolated or lonely in the past 12 months. Asian secondary school students were less likely than all secondary school students to report they got enough time with one or more of their parents.
Females generally fare better than for males in the Health and Knowledge and Skills domains, but findings mixed in other domains
Sex differences vary between and within the domains in this report. Outcomes are generally better for females than for males in the Health and Knowledge and Skills domains, but are mixed in other domains such as Paid Work and Safety. In some areas, sex differences have narrowed in recent years.
For most of the indicators in the Health domain, females had better outcomes than males. On average, females live longer than males, but the sex difference in life expectancy is decreasing, reflecting greater gains for males since the mid-1980s. There is a marked sex difference in the suicide death rate: in 2006, the rate for males was almost three times that for females. The male suicide death rate increased sharply in the late-1980s but has declined since the mid-1990s, while the female rate has been relatively stable over the last 20 years. Females have a higher rate of hospitalisation from intentional self-harm than males. There was no significant difference in obesity rates between the sexes in 2006/2007. Obesity rates have increased more for males than for females since the mid-1990s. Cigarette smoking rates for females and males have generally been similar since the mid-1980s, but in 2008 the age-standardised rate was higher for males than for females.
In 2006/2007, male drinkers were more than twice as likely as female drinkers to have a potentially hazardous drinking pattern, as they were in 1996/1997 and 2002/2003.
In the Knowledge and Skills domain, most indicators continue to be better for females than for males, although differences have narrowed in recent years. There is little sex difference in participation in early childhood education, but females are more likely than males to leave school with higher qualifications and to participate in tertiary education. Female school leavers are more likely than male school leavers to have gained qualifications at NCEA Level 2 or above. The sex difference in tertiary participation widened over the decade to 2004 but has since narrowed as the decline in enrolments between 2005 and 2008 was greater for females than for males. For the adult population aged 25–64 years, sex differences in educational attainment have narrowed over time as a result of greater improvements for females, particularly at younger ages. While there was no sex difference overall in 2008, in the 25–34 years age group, women were more likely than men to have a tertiary degree.
The opposite was the case in the 55–64 years age group. In adult literacy in English, there was no significant sex difference in prose literacy at Level 3 or above in 2006 but all of the improvement in higher prose literacy over the previous decade was due to increases for males. Males were significantly more likely than females to have skills in numeracy at Level 3 or above. There was no sex difference in document literacy for all adults aged 16–65 years. However, among adults under 25 years, a higher proportion of females than males had higher document skills, while at ages 45 years and over the pattern was reversed.
Findings are mixed in the Paid Work domain. Unemployment rates were similar for males and females in the year to March 2009, having been higher for females than for males between 2003 and 2008 and higher for males than for females during the peak years of unemployment. Men are more likely to be employed than women, although faster employment growth among females between the mid-1990s and 2009 has narrowed the employment rate gap. Among wage and salary earners, males earn more, on average, than females. The ratio of female to male median hourly earnings was 88 per cent in 2008, similar to the ratio in 2001. Males are almost twice as likely as females to suffer workplace injuries involving a claim to ACC, reflecting in part the high proportions of males in more dangerous industries and occupations. Employed males and females have similar rates of satisfaction with their work-life balance, with part-time workers of both sexes having higher levels of satisfaction than full-time workers.
Between 1998 and 2008, females were slightly more likely than males to be living in households with low incomes. The pattern over time was less clear for housing affordability. In 2008 there was no difference by sex in the proportion of people aged 15 years and over living in households that were spending more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on housing. There is very little difference by sex in the likelihood of living in crowded households.
There are fewer female than male Members of Parliament, although the proportion increased in the 2008 general election. Similarly, female representation in local authorities is lower than that of males, but it increased in the 2007 elections. Women are more likely than men to be perceived as a group subject to discrimination.
In 2006/2007, males were significantly more likely than females to meet physical activity guidelines. There was no change in physical activity levels for either sex from the previous survey in 2002/2003. In 2008, there was very little difference between the sexes in reported satisfaction with leisure time. Women were slightly more likely than men to experience one or more of the cultural activities included in the 2002 Cultural Experiences Survey.
In the Safety domain, males and females were equally likely to experience some form of criminal victimisation in 2005. With confrontational offences, men were as likely as women to have been victimised at least once by a partner, but women experienced more offences than men did. Females were twice as likely as males to be the victims of sexual offences, while males were more likely to be the victims of confrontational offences by people they did not know. Women were more likely than men to report that fear of crime impacted on their quality of life. Males are more likely than females to die from an assault or intentional injury and they are more likely to be injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. Although road accident deaths have declined substantially for both sexes, the male road accident death rate remained double that of females in 2008.
In the Social Connectedness domain, men and women reported a similar level of trust in others in 2008, but women were more likely than men to have felt lonely during the past 12 months. There is little difference between men and women in having access to the internet and a telephone in their homes, except at older ages, where women were less likely than men to have internet access. Among secondary school students, females were less likely than males to report that most of the time they get enough time with at least one parent, and this sex difference increased between 2001 and 2007.
Figure SU5 Social indicators for females relative to males, 2006–2008
Interpreting "Social indicators for females relative to males, 2006–2008"
The circle represents average outcomes for males. The spokes represent average outcomes for females. Where a spoke falls outside the circle, the outcome for females is better than for males. The further the spoke is from the circle, the better the outcome for females relative to males. Where a spoke falls inside the circle, the outcome for females is worse than for males. One important limitation on this style of presentation is that we cannot directly compare the size of changes for different indicators. Where possible, the data represents three-yearly averages. Most of the data is from 2006–2008 except for suicide and assault mortality (both 2004–2006), criminal victimisation and fear of crime (both 2005) and participation in cultural and arts activities (2002).
People living in deprived areas generally experience poorer outcomes, particularly in health
We include information on differences by socio-economic status for 15 of the indicators in this report. Two different area-based measures of socio-economic difference are used: the New Zealand Index of Deprivation (NZDep), and the Ministry of Education’s school decile index.114 For some indicators, measures of socio-economic difference are based on the distribution of individual or household incomes.
Health-related outcomes tend to worsen with rising levels of neighbourhood deprivation. Life expectancy at birth is considerably lower for people living in NZDep2006 decile 10 areas (the most deprived 10th of small areas in New Zealand) than for those living in decile 1 areas (the least deprived 10th). In 2005–2007, the difference was 8.8 years for males and 5.9 years for females.
The prevalence of cigarette smoking in 2008 was almost three times higher for people living in the most deprived fifth of areas than for those living in the least deprived fifth. In 2006/2007, the prevalence of obesity and potentially hazardous drinking were both significantly higher in NZDep2006 quintile 5 areas (the most deprived fifth) than in all other areas (quintiles 1–4). On the other hand, there was no association between the proportion of people who met physical activity guidelines and the level of neighbourhood deprivation.
Year 1 students in schools drawn from low socio-economic communities are less likely to have attended early childhood education than Year 1 students in schools drawn from high socio-economic communities. School leavers from low decile schools are less likely to have a qualification at NCEA Level 2 or above than those leaving high decile schools.
Housing affordability varies widely by household income level. In 2008, households in the lowest fifth of household incomes (adjusted for household size and composition) were 2.6 times as likely as those in the highest fifth to spend more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on housing, up from 2.3 times in 2007. Housing affordability deteriorated for all household income quintiles between 2007 and 2008. Over the decade to 2008, the proportion of households in the lowest quintile spending more than 30 per cent of their incomes on housing declined slightly, while the proportions in all other quintiles increased.
In 2006, households in the lowest fifth of household incomes (adjusted for household size and composition) were five times more likely to be crowded than households in the highest fifth.
In 2005, people living in the most deprived areas New Zealand (NZDep quintile 5) were more likely than people living in the least deprived areas to report being victims of crime. They were also more likely to report that fear of crime affected their quality of life.
Some indicators show an association with levels of personal income, although there is no clear pattern. In 2008, full-time employees with personal incomes of $30,000 or less had the highest level of satisfaction with work-life balance across the income scale. Satisfaction with leisure time was also highest for people in this income group, although in this case the proportion included people of retirement age and students. In the same year, people with incomes over $100,000 reported the highest overall level of trust and the lowest level of loneliness.