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Meeting needs – How well do we live?

Unemployment rate

There is no overall trend (in terms of sustainable development the result in neutral).  Annual rate is little changed from 1987.

As well as providing income, employment has a positive impact on individual satisfaction and happiness. It also increases participation in society and the productive capacity of the economy. Unemployment increases the risk of poverty and consequent social exclusion. 

Annual unemployment rate, 1987–2008.

  • After peaking at 10.6 percent in 1992 and at 7.7 percent in 1998, the unemployment rate fell to a 20-year low of 3.7 percent in 2007.
  • With declining economic activity throughout 2008, there has been an increase in unemployment, with an annual rate of 4.2 percent at December 2008.

Because there are always new people entering the labour force and others changing jobs, the unemployment rate is not expected to ever fall to zero as there is always some level of unemployment.

Real gross national disposable income per person

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  Since 1992, average income has steadily increased.

Real gross national disposable income (RGNDI) per person measures the average income available to New Zealanders. A nation with a rising RGNDI per person will have a greater capacity to deliver a better quality of life and standard of living to the population.

 Real gross national disposable income per person, 1988–2008.

  • New Zealand’s RGNDI per person increased 35 percent between 1988 and 2008. 
  • The level of increase has been relatively constant over the period, apart from falls in 1991 and 1992. 

Please note that the y axis on figure 12a was incorrectly labelled but now reads $(000).

Health expectancy at birth

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  Between 1996 and 2006, health expectancy at birth increased.

A good standard of health contributes to quality of life and enables people to participate in society and the economy. Health expectancy is an estimate of the average number of years a person will live without requiring assistance with everyday activities.

Health expectancy at birth, by sex, 1996, 2001, and 2006.

  • Health expectancy at birth increased steadily for all females between 1996 and 2006, from 67.5 years to 69.2 years. 
  • Health expectancy for all males increased over the same period, from 64.7 years to 67.4 years, closing the gender gap most rapidly between 2001 and 2006.

Rate of death from assault

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  Between 1987 and 2005, the rate of death from assault per 100,000 people decreased.

Safety and security affect people’s well-being, their ability and desire to interact with others, and to take part in social and economic life. Death from assault represents the extreme end of violent offences. People’s perceptions of crime are also important and differ from actual levels of crime.

Rate of death by assault, 1987–2005.

  • Between 1987 and 2005, the overall trend for the rate of death from assault decreased 29 percent. 
  • The rate of death fluctuated over the period, peaking in the early 1990s.
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