NZ ranks well in material wellbeing index

New research has found that New Zealand ranks highly in a new index of wellbeing based on household consumption.

800px-New_Zealand_23_October_2002The research, undertaken by economic and policy research institute Motu, drew on OECD student surveys covering almost 800,000 homes across 40 countries. Data on consumer goods, such as household cars and appliances, was collected by the survey and allowed Motu researchers to compare the standard of living between countries (for households with a 15 year-old resident).

Crunching these numbers into a new measure of material wellbeing, the researchers found that  New Zealand ranks just behind the United States and Canada, and ahead of Australia and all the Scandinavian countries.

“Our new measure focuses on actual consumption of households, which is a better measure of living standards than income, said Arthur Grimes, Senior Fellow at Motu.

“What we found is that we have very high material wellbeing levels. I think this should call into question the widespread negative impression of living standards in New Zealand compared with other developed countries,”

While the average level of material wellbeing was relatively high in New Zealand, the authors did note that the level of inequality between households was less impressive; New Zealand ranked twentieth out of the 40 countries included.

Coverage of the research includes: New study finds most kiwi families have a high standard of living
New Zealand Herald: New Zealand is still a great place to bring up children: survey New Zealand has world’s third-highest material standard of living – report
Radio New Zealand: Material wellbeing study shows NZ richer
3 News: Talk Money