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20 years of change for ‘ordinary New Zealanders’

Later motherhood, more one-parent families, older workers and little sign of narrowing ethnic disparities are among the key findings in a book tracing changes in New Zealand society between 1981 and 2001.

Two Decades of Change in New Zealand: From Birth to Death V is the latest in a series by Judith Davey, Associate Professor of Social Policy and Director of the New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing at Victoria University.

Published by the University’s Institute of Policy Studies, From Birth to Death V details major change and trends in every day life at home, in the community, at school, and at work.

Dr Davey says her work covers all stages of life from infancy to retirement and highlights differences between the experiences of societal groups by gender and ethnicity.

“The period 1981 to 2001 saw considerable political, social and economic change. It saw several changes of government and shifts in ideology resulting in the deregulatory and market-driven policies of the 1980s and 1990s,” she says.

“This work tracks 20 years worth of significant social and economic trends in New Zealand and how these changes impact on the lives of ordinary New Zealanders..

“Trends include changes in household composition and living arrangements, home ownership, working patterns of parents, household and personal incomes, paid and unpaid work, life-long education, health status and hospital use, legal and social marital status.

“For example, de facto relationships have become increasingly common, especially for young adults and even in older age groups. Social marital status – whether a person is partnered or not – is now more important than legal marital status.”

Dr Davey says her analysis is given additional context with commentary on the policy implications of the trends.

From Birth to Death V is the latest volume in the From Birth to Death series, continuing and updating the previous four volumes begun by the New Zealand Planning Council in 1985. It is the third volume solely authored by Dr Davey. Its content will be of interest to social scientists and policy-makers at all levels.

The book will be launched at Victoria University’s Institute of Policy Studies, 6 Wai-te-ata Road, Kelburn, Wellington at 4.30pm on 18 June 2003.

The publication reflects Dr Davey’s overall interest in the interaction and implications of social policy and social change.

Contact Associate Professor Judith Davey, phone (04) 463 6746.

Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
For further information please contact or phone 04 463 5163 or 025 675 5399

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