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Growing Up in New Zealand: Now we are 4

Available now: Growing Up in New Zealand: Now we are 4

Attached is the latest report from the Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) longitudinal study. This report focuses on the children from the study at age 4.

It was produced by the University of Auckland with Crown funding managed by Superu.

'Now we are 4' provides a comprehensive look at how Kiwi kids from the study are faring.

Vasantha Krishnan, Director Knowledge at Superu, says that the biggest shift for most children is that they now attend early childhood education, and most are reported to be generally happy and healthy and spending time getting to know their peers.

"This means that we also see greater employment of mothers, leading to improved economic circumstances for these households.

"Nearly half of this generation of mothers live in private rental accommodation and experience multiple changes of address. The effect of this on access to services needs further exploration," says Ms Krishnan.

We also see:

-High prevalence of obesity: at age four, 14 percent of the children were classified as overweight or obese. Interestingly, a majority of the children found to be overweight were perceived by their mothers to be of normal weight.

-Families moving homes frequently, with half of the children experiencing one or more residential moves since the age of two.

-The increasing number of children living with a single parent as the cohort gets older.

-A greater proportion of Maori children living in single-parent households compared to other ethnic groups. Previous research by Superu identified that these families tend to face greater financial stress which impacts their ability to function well.

-One in five mothers experience depressive symptoms during or since pregnancy. The proportion and composition of mothers with such symptoms varied over time. Less than 1 percent experienced depressive symptoms at all points in time.

-By the age of four, 97 percent of children spend time away from their parent, such as in early childhood education or organised home-based care.

Complex social issues need good-quality evidence and decision-makers need to know what works. This research helps increase the use of evidence by people across the social sector so that they make better decisions.

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