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A quantitative analysis of disadvantage

The Government asked the New Zealand Productivity Commission | Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa to undertake an inquiry into economic inclusion and social mobility, with a focus on supporting people experiencing persistent disadvantage to live better lives – A Fair Chance for All inquiry.  

Part of the Terms of Reference for the inquiry noted that there is limited understanding of how trends in economic inclusion and social mobility impact on individuals, different population groups and wider society; and their dynamics across lifetimes and generations.  

This report helps to fill this gap. It should be read alongside our final inquiry report – A Fair Chance for All: Breaking the cycle of persistent disadvantage.  

The analysis takes a novel approach, linking data across two Censuses and two national surveys to measure persistent disadvantage in working age households across three domains: income poverty, deprivation and exclusion.  

The report estimates the scale of persistent disadvantage in New Zealand across these three domains, and examines who is more likely to experience it. It also considers: 

  • Patterns of entry into and exit from disadvantage, and the factors contributing to different rates of entry and exit. 
  • The inter-relationships between persistent disadvantage, subjective wellbeing and life satisfaction, and trust in institutions and people. 
  • The experience of intergenerational disadvantage in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere, drawing from the literature and from recent New Zealand studies. 
  • Consideration of future research and the next steps to improve our understanding of persistent disadvantage. 

An excel workbook Disadvantage & how it persists 2023 – figures and tableswith the source data for tables and figures referenced in the report is also available for downloading. 


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