The first release of data from the 2010 New Zealand General Social Survey showed that:
- New Zealanders have relatively high levels of overall life satisfaction. In the survey, 87 percent of the population reported they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their lives overall.
However, satisfaction with life varied across different groups within the population, in particular when looking at people’s labour force status, stage in life, household income, and the type of family they live in.
- Unemployed people showed the lowest levels of satisfaction with their lives across all the population groups described in this release. Nearly half of those who were unemployed felt they did not have enough money to meet their everyday needs. They were also more likely to report feeling socially isolated, and to feel they had been discriminated against in the last 12 months, compared with those who were employed or not in the labour force.
- Younger and older New Zealanders were more likely than people in the middle life stages to report they were satisfied with their lives overall. The proportion of New Zealanders who were dissatisfied with their lives increased from young adults through to middle-age (45–64 years), then decreased again as people moved into older age. This may reflect the pressures in terms of work and family responsibilities people face as they move through the first three life stages.
- Satisfaction with life increased with household income level. However, the largest increase in life satisfaction occurred between the two lowest household income groups (‘$30,000 or less’ and ‘$30,001– $70,000’), with progressively smaller increases in life satisfaction at higher income groups. In addition to lower life satisfaction, people in lower income households were more likely to report feeling unsafe walking alone in their neighbourhood at night and to say they had ‘fair or poor’ health than people in higher income households.
- People living in one-parent family households were less satisfied with their lives than people living in other family types. They were also more likely to report not having enough money to meet their everyday needs, and having one or more major problems with their house or flat.
Acting Government Statistician
1 November 2011