Biggest ever poverty survey gets underway

  • Hon James Shaw

New Zealand’s most extensive survey of child poverty kicks off this month (July) to give a clearer picture of how poverty affects everyone; from children to the elderly, says the Minister of Statistics.

Extra funding in the 2018 Budget means Stats NZ’s Household Economic Survey will be expanded from 3,500 households to 20,000 to get a more detailed picture of what Kiwis can afford and what they can’t; especially for their children. 

“Finding out about the extent of child poverty is a first step. Once we have a better picture, the Government will understand how to develop more effective policies and actions to reduce child poverty,” James Shaw says.

Stats NZ will be asking families questions such as: “Do your children have two pairs of good shoes, two sets of warm winter clothes, and a waterproof coat?”

Families will be asked if they have been forced to postpone a child’s visit to the dentist so they could afford essentials like food and rent.

“Some families may not be able to afford a birthday party for their child, that could be an indicator of poverty, and the survey asks about that too,” Mr Shaw said.

The first of 20,000 interviews started today (2 July).

The survey will roll out around the country over the next 12 months.

Results will be released later in 2019.

Households are chosen randomly and they are notified by mail first.

The survey is then carried out in a short face-to face interview.

All personal information is kept private, secure and confidential.