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Survey of Family Income and Employment

Survey of Family Income and Employment Provisional Results Released

Statistics New Zealand today released the preliminary results from a new survey designed to study individual, family and household income, how this income changes, and the factors that influence these changes, such as involvement in the labour force or family composition.

The Survey of Family Income and Employment (SoFIE) is New Zealand's first-ever national 'longitudinal' survey, which means that respondents are revisited over a number of years to measure how their individual and family circumstances change over time. Unlike cross-sectional surveys that typically measure an individual's circumstances at the time of the interview, results from SoFIE will show the changes in those circumstances over time.

As respondents to SoFIE are interviewed over time, a more complete picture of their lives will be able to be constructed, enabling the study of such questions as:

Do people with low incomes continue to have low incomes?

What is the pattern of income over time as people go through life?

How do income levels for families and individuals change and what are the factors that drive this change?

What are the patterns of participation in the labour market over time?

How do factors such as participation in education and training, and having children affect participation in the labour market and income levels?

How long do people stay in the same job?

How long do people spend looking for work?

More than 22,000 people who were interviewed between October 2002 and September 2003 will be reinterviewed once a year for eight years. Individuals are asked to recall their income, labour force involvement and family situation for the 12 months prior to the interview. For the second wave of interviews, which started in October 2003, and every second interview after this, questions on assets and liabilities have been added. Questions on health status will be added in the third wave of interviews starting in October 2004.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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