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Families Feel Financial Squeeze

Families Feel Financial Squeeze

Most New Zealanders (55%) say their household finances do not allow them to live comfortably, but we are better off than the 60% of Americans who say the same.

This is a finding from UMR Research’s nationwide survey of New Zealanders aged 18 years which was conducted earlier this month. UMR asked people to say whether their household finances enabled them either to ‘live comfortably’, ‘meet basic expenses with a little left over for extras’, ‘just meet basic expenses’ or that their finances ‘didn’t leave them with enough to meet basic expenses.’

45% of New Zealanders said they ‘lived comfortably’, 36% said they ‘meet basic expenses with a little left over for extras’, 16% ‘just meet basic expenses’ and 3% said their finances ‘didn’t leave them with enough to meet basic expenses.’

However, those feeling the pinch the most are families with dependent children where one in four (23%) say they just meet basic expenses’ and one in twenty (5%) say their finances ‘didn’t leave them with enough to meet basic expenses.’ Only one in three (31%) of those with dependent children say they ‘live comfortably’.

Men are significantly more likely to say they ‘live comfortably’ than women with 50% saying this compared to 39% of women. And 22% of women say they ‘just meet basic expenses’ or ‘don’t have enough’ compared to 15% of men.

UMR also asked people to identify which social class they felt they belonged to. Most Kiwis (63%) say they are ‘middle-class’ which was significantly more than the 53% of Americans who said they were ‘middle-class’ when asked the same question.

While only 43% of New Zealand’s middle-class say they ‘live comfortably’, this is more than the 39% of America’s middle-class who say the same. The UMR survey was conducted between 6-11 June 2008. It was a nationally representative telephone survey of n=750 and has a margin of error of +3.6%.

The American survey was conducted by PEW Research between 24 January and 19 February 2008.


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