Well-Being Indicators in Aotearoa/New Zealand the 2021 ‘state of the play’

Keywords: New Zealand, Wellbeing Indicators, Social Well-being, Indicator-sets, Economic Indicators, Cultural Indicators, Environmental Indicators, Quality of Life, Surveys, Official statistics


Since the turn of the Millenium there have been active developments of social indicator frameworks in New Zealand, alongside related efforts of economic, environmental, and health indicators. The first phase included the Ministry of Social Development’s Social Report and the – still on-going - Quality of Life Project alongside living standards studies and the academic FWWP[1] study drawing on census data. In the second decade a new approach gradually emerged. The Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) General Social Survey provided a firm foundation for developing indicators, international conceptualisation from the OECD and other sources was explicitly drawn on, the Household Economic Survey underwent ongoing enhancement and Treasury embarked on the long-term development of its Living Standards framework. A recent fillip driven by the emerging rhetoric of ‘Social Well Being’ has been the institutionalising of social indicators in the forthcoming Treasury Wellbeing report, an interest in social cohesion, mobilisation of academic knowledge, consideration of a wider range of inputs (especially on behalf of ethnic communities) and establishment of more active SNZ and other websites and dashboards, which supply useful single-variable vignettes and considerable downloadable source data but little analysis.  The New Zealand social indicator system, within the increasingly comprehensive overall indicator system, is beginning to consolidate but needs more considered development.


[1] The Family and Whanau Wellbeing Project was carried out at the University Auckland: see Cotterell & Crothers, 2011.

Author Biography

Charles Crothers, AUT

Emeritus Professor, School of Social Sciences


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How to Cite
Crothers, C. (2021). Well-Being Indicators in Aotearoa/New Zealand the 2021 ‘state of the play’. Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Issues, 1. https://doi.org/10.24135/anzjsi.v1i.53