28 November 2018
Quality of life continues to improve for greater Christchurch residents, according to the latest wellbeing indicators.
The Canterbury Wellbeing Index was released today by Canterbury District Health Board. The Index uses data from many different local and national agencies, as well the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey, to bring together information about wellbeing in Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakariri District.
Evon Currie, chair of the greater Christchurch Psychosocial Governance Group, says wellbeing in greater Christchurch has continued its upward trend post-quake.
“Overall, the wellbeing of our community is in the best shape it has been since the earthquakes. Eight in ten greater Christchurch residents rate their quality of life positively, stress levels continue to fall, and the WHO-5 wellbeing scale is at its highest level since it was first measured in 2013,” says Currie.
Currie says the Index indicates that the economic stimulus resulting from the quakes is diminishing.
“Following the earthquakes incomes in Canterbury rose at a much higher rate than the national level, while unemployment fell to historically low levels. Eight years on from the first quakes, both of these measures are trending back towards national rates.”
As well as being informed by data from 15 agencies, various Statistics New Zealand surveys, and Census data, the Canterbury Wellbeing Index also includes data from the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey.
Currie says that while wellbeing is improving for many, there are several groups within our community who continue to experience lower wellbeing. These groups include Maori, those on low incomes, and those with a disability or chronic health condition.
“Being able to live the type of life you value shouldn’t be the preserve of the wealthy or healthy. We need to do more to ensure that no one is left behind. That should be the ultimate measure of a successful community.”
Evon Currie says that for the first time, a question on loneliness was included in this year’s Survey.
“It’s no surprise that people who are lonely also experience lower levels of wellbeing. What was surprising was the degree of loneliness experienced by young Cantabrians. Nearly 15% of 18-24 year olds feel lonely or isolated always or most of the time, compared with 3% of those over 65.”
“I’m interested in digging deeper into the issue of loneliness to determine whether government agencies and our communities need to be playing more of a role in encouraging connections and a sense of belonging, especially for our young people.”
The Canterbury Wellbeing Index contains 56 indicators across a diverse range of domains including education, housing, health and jobs, and includes a separate section focusing on 19 Maori wellbeing indicators. The Index enables users to extract the information they are interested in.
Evon Currie is encouraging local decision makers to explore the data and use it to positively influence the wellbeing of the local population.
The Canterbury Wellbeing Index, and a link to the full findings of the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey, can be found at www.canterburywellbeing.org.nz.