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Material wellbeing


Good material wellbeing means having the basics and “a little bit more”. This indicator looks at the proportion of children (aged 0-15 years) living in households experiencing good material wellbeing.

As part of developing the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, we heard from more than 6,000 children and young people about what makes a good life. Ensuring children and young people have the basics was raised by around one in seven participants. These responses mentioned having the basics covered, having a place to live, having enough food and having enough money. Some wrote about having enough money left to have a treat occasionally, or to be able to do non-essential activities.

This indicator looks at the proportion of children who are living in households who meet the threshold of “good material wellbeing” using the Material Wellbeing Index. The Material Wellbeing Index is a score based on answers to 24 questions about households' non-monetary (economic) standard of living, about access to necessities for a basic standard of living (e.g. adequate food, clothing and accommodation) and non-essential things that could be expected in a typical household (e.g. money to spend on hobbies or going away on holiday once a year), and the ability/capacity to cope with any unexpected demands on the household budget.

Households with good wellbeing typically have access to almost all of the necessities, only rarely have to cut back on non-essential items, and have a little freedom to purchase treats or to cope with unexpected demands on the household budget. 

This indicator relates to the 'have what they need' outcome.

How will this be measured?

  • Measurement of this indicator will be drawn from the Household Economic Survey – Stats NZ
  • This indicator gives an idea of how many families are 'just getting by', as well as those in material hardship. This information can also be used to see how we are doing relative to other countries.
Last updated: 
Thursday, 23 July 2020