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te pūrongo oranga tangata 2004
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Ministry of Social Development.
In This Section
bullet Is Social Wellbeing Improving?
bullet Are New Zealanders satisfied With Their Lives?
bullet How does New Zealand Compare To Other OECD Countries?
bullet The Distribution Of Social Wellbeing In New Zealand
bullet Summary Of Indicators
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Regional Comparison
  • Conclusion
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The Social Report 2004 uses 43 indicators to document social wellbeing in New Zealand. These indicators present a snapshot of wellbeing in New Zealand, how it has changed over time, how different groups within our society fare, and how New Zealand compares with other countries. This section summarises the findings from these indicators.

The indicators for which we have long-term trend data show that many aspects of wellbeing have been improving in New Zealand. Compared to the mid 1990s, New Zealanders are on average living longer, they are more highly educated, less likely to be unemployed, and more prosperous.

Five indicators show no change since the mid 1990s. These are: absence of corruption, income inequality, housing affordability, criminal victimisation, and the proportion of women in government.

Two indicators - the proportion of school leavers with higher qualifications and voter turnout - have worsened slightly.

Nine of the 43 indicators are new to the Social Report this year, and together they provide information on a number of the non-economic dimensions of wellbeing. The new indicators show a high level of trust between New Zealanders. The large majority of New Zealanders also rarely or never experience loneliness, though unemployed people, people on low incomes, and young people are considerably more likely to feel lonely. Almost one in five employed people are dissatisfied with their work/life balance.

We also provide detail on the extent of overall life satisfaction of New Zealanders. Approximately 80 percent of adults in our recent Social Wellbeing Survey indicate being satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.

Social wellbeing in New Zealand also compares favourably with other developed countries.

New Zealand is in the top half of the OECD for the majority of indicators for which we are able to compare ourselves, including: indicators of life expectancy, a range of education indicators, employment and unemployment, trust in others, and absence of corruption. New Zealanders also report very high levels of satisfaction with their lives compared to people in many OECD countries.

New Zealand is in the bottom half of the OECD in relation to a smaller number of indicators. New Zealand is a below-average performer in relation to per capita incomes, income inequality, rates of child deaths by maltreatment, suicide, obesity, and quantitative and document adult literacy.

The Social Report 2004 also enables an analysis of how different groups within our society fare. Across a wide variety of indicators, people with low incomes, Māori, Pacific peoples and other non-European/Pākehā ethnic groups tend to experience poorer average outcomes than the rest of the population. Comparisons between age groups, and between men and women reveal a more mixed picture.

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