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Older people are happy with life in New Zealand

Support, work, and satisfaction – older people are happy with life in New Zealand – Media release

30 September 2013

Age is not always a barrier to supporting family members, working, and being satisfied with life, Statistics New Zealand says.

October 1 is International Day of Older Persons. Recent research from Statistics NZ shows that one-third of people aged 65 years or over (65+) said they, or their partner, provided support to family members aged under 18 who didn’t live with them.

As well, 15 percent of older people provided support to 18 to 24-year-old family members who didn’t live with them, according to the 2012 New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS).

Older people's support came mainly from providing money, a place to stay, or help with childcare.

Older people also received support. The NZGSS showed 27 percent of people under 65 years said they or their partner supported a family member aged 65+ who didn't live with them.

"The main types of support these older family members received were help around the house with tasks such as cleaning or gardening, providing transport, and caring for them due to illness, disability, or old age," NZGSS manager Philip Walker said.

New Zealand has an estimated 640,000 people aged 65+, and most seem to be happy – the NZGSS shows 95 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with their life.

Other statistics show that although the eligible age for New Zealand Superannuation is 65, many older people continue to work. In 2012 the labour force included 130,000 people aged 65+, with 93 percent reporting they were satisfied with their job.

The number of older people in the labour force is projected to grow in coming years – to 370,000 in 2036 and to 460,000 by 2061.

These increases reflect a growing older population generally. Latest projections indicate New Zealand will have about 1.1 million people aged 65+ in 2031 and 1.5 million in 2061.

Growth in the number of older people is driven by increasing life expectancy across all ages. Women who turn 65 in 2013 can expect to live another 23 years, on average, and men another 21 years.

The NZGSS interviewed over 8,000 New Zealanders aged 15 years or over. See well-being for more results from the survey.


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