New Zealanders feel financially better off

According to results from the General Social Survey, the proportion of people who felt they had enough or more than enough money to meet everyday needs increased from 51 percent in 2008 to 63 percent in 2018, Stats NZ said today.

“People who felt they had enough or more than enough money to meet everyday needs also felt more satisfied with life overall than those who felt they didn’t have enough money,” wellbeing and housing statistics manager Dr Claire Bretherton said.

In 2008, about 1 in 6 people (15 percent) felt they didn’t have enough money to meet everyday needs. In 2018, that had fallen to about 1 in 10 people (9.8 percent).

“In 2008 and 2009, at around the time of the global financial crisis, unemployment in New Zealand was rising sharply and this may have had an impact on how New Zealanders felt about their own financial wellbeing,” Dr Bretherton said.

“The unemployment rate reached a peak in September 2012 and has been trending downwards ever since.”

The improvement in financial wellbeing was felt across a wide range of groups, including: homeowners, renters, single parents, and European, Māori, and Asian ethnic groups.

Adequacy of income to meet everyday needs 2008
Not enough money 15.4
Only just enough money 33.3
Enough/more than enough money 51.3
14.4 16.5
31.9 34.6
49.8 52.8
Adequacy of income to meet everyday needs 2010
Not enough money 16.6
Only just enough money 32.8
Enough/more than enough money 50.6
15.4 17.8
31.3 34.2
49.1 52.2
Adequacy of income to meet everyday needs 2012
Not enough money 15.3
Only just enough money 33.1
Enough/more than enough money 51.6
14.3 16.2
31.8 34.4
50.2 53
Adequacy of income to meet everyday needs 2014
Not enough money 11.6
Only just enough money 25.4
Enough/more than enough money 63
10.8 12.4
24.2 26.6
61.5 64.5
Adequacy of income to meet everyday needs 2016
Not enough money 10.7
Only just enough money 24.7
Enough/more than enough money 64.5
9.8 11.7
23.4 26.1
63.1 66
Adequacy of income to meet everyday needs 2018
Not enough money 9.8
Only just enough money 27.4
Enough/more than enough money 62.8
9 10.6
26 28.8
61.3 64.2

Renters feel improved financial wellbeing but still behind homeowners

In 2018, 48 percent of renters felt they had enough or more than enough money to meet everyday needs, up from 37 percent in 2008. This coincides with a decrease in the proportion of renters saying they didn’t have enough money, from around one-quarter (26 percent) in 2008 to around 1 in 6 (17 percent) in 2018.

Housing tenure 2008
Not owner-occupied 26.1
Owner-occupied 10.8
23.7 9.6
28.5 11.9
Housing tenure 2010
Not owner-occupied 25.5
Owner-occupied 12.4
23.0 11.3
28.0 13.5
Housing tenure 2012
Not owner-occupied 25.7
Owner-occupied 10.1
23.9 9.0
27.5 11.2
Housing tenure 2014
Not owner-occupied 19.2
Owner-occupied 7.8
17.3 6.9
21.0 8.7
Housing tenure 2016
Not owner-occupied 17.7
Owner-occupied 7.1
15.9 6.1
19.6 8.1
Housing tenure 2018
Not owner-occupied 16.9
Owner-occupied 6.1
15.0 5.3
18.7 7.0

Despite these improvements, renters remained over twice as likely as homeowners to say they didn’t have enough money to meet everyday needs.

“Other Stats NZ data shows renters face higher housing costs as a proportion of their household income than homeowners. This may be why a greater share of renters felt worse off financially,” Dr Bretherton said.

Single parents feel better off

Single parents are among those who report the greatest financial struggles, but their reported financial wellbeing has improved in the past decade.

The proportion of single parents who felt they didn’t have enough money to meet everyday needs decreased from over one-third (36 percent) in 2008 to around one-quarter (24 percent) in 2018 – the biggest decrease of any family type.

Family type 2008
Couple without child(ren) 8.4
Couple with child(ren) 16
One parent with child(ren) 36
Not in a family nucleus 17
7.3 9.6
14.2 17.8
31.6 40.3
15.1 19
Family type 2010
Couple without child(ren) 9
Couple with child(ren) 16.6
One parent with child(ren) 38
Not in a family nucleus 18.4
7.6 10.5
14.5 18.6
33.4 42.6
15.9 20.8
Family type 2012
Couple without child(ren) 8.6
Couple with child(ren) 15.4
One parent with child(ren) 34.2
Not in a family nucleus 16.3
7.3 9.9
13.4 17.3
30.1 38.3
14.5 18
Family type 2014
Couple without child(ren) 6.1
Couple with child(ren) 10.6
One parent with child(ren) 29.2
Not in a family nucleus 13.8
4.8 7.3
9.3 12
25.8 32.5
11.8 15.7
Family type 2016
Couple without child(ren) 5.9
Couple with child(ren) 10.4
One parent with child(ren) 25.3
Not in a family nucleus 12.5
4.8 7
8.9 12
20.9 29.8
10.7 14.2
Family type 2018
Couple without child(ren) 5.2
Couple with child(ren) 8.9
One parent with child(ren) 24.4
Not in a family nucleus 11.6
4.1 6.3
7.6 10.1
21.1 27.8
9.8 13.3

Rise in ‘only just enough money’ felt by higher income households in recent periods

In 2018, around one-quarter (26 percent) of people with a household income between $100,001 and $150,000 and 1 in 6 (17 percent) of those with a household income over $150,000 reported they had only just enough money to meet everyday needs. This was up from about 1 in 5 (21 percent) and 1 in 9 (12 percent), respectively, in 2014.

There was little change for either income group between 2008 and 2012.

Note: 2014 to 2018 data has been restricted to those aged 18 or older for comparison with earlier data.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.