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Identifying stepfamilies in longitudinal data

Statistics New Zealand Working Paper No 16–01

Megan Gath

Abstract

Objectives

Identifying stepfamilies in longitudinal data describes how we developed a methodological process for identifying stepfamilies in longitudinal data through an analysis of family transitions. We used a large-scale, representative sample of New Zealanders to validate the methodological process, and to provide prevalence estimates of people living in stepfamilies in New Zealand.

Methods

Data came from the Survey of Family, Income, and Employment (SoFIE), a longitudinal survey run by Statistics NZ from 2002–2011 that included over 22,000 New Zealanders (approximately 11,500 households). As stepfamilies were not measured in SoFIE, we developed an identification process. Based on the identification of existing and emerging stepfamilies as well as the dissolution of stepfamilies, we computed prevalence estimates for adults and children living in stepfamilies.

Results

By the final survey wave, approximately 9.3 percent of all children (people under 18 years of age) were living in a stepfamily, and 7.5 percent of all adults living with dependent children were living in a stepfamily (2.6 percent of all people aged 18 years and older). 5.5 percent of adults were living in a stepfamily in at least one survey wave, and 11.8 percent of children were living in a stepfamily in at least one wave.

Conclusion

Weighted estimates of people in SoFIE that we identified as living in stepfamilies in New Zealand approximated international stepfamily prevalence rates, providing some initial validation for the stepfamily identifier. The methodological process used to identify stepfamilies in this dataset could be applied to other similar data collections to identify stepfamilies through family transitions over time.

Key words

Stepfamily; family research; family transitions; longitudinal

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Citation

Gath, M (2016). Identifying stepfamilies in longitudinal data. (Statistics New Zealand Working Paper No 16–01). Retrieved from www.stats.govt.nz.

ISBN 978-0-908350-38-4 (online)
ISSN 1179-934X (online)

Published 19 April 2016

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