SIA’s wellbeing measurement approach makes headway

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The SIA has defined an approach to measuring wellbeing impacts associated with social services. We’ve built on this and developed an analytical method for measuring short term changes in wellbeing associated with certain types of social services. In the first case, we have selected social housing to apply this new analytical method.

Our working paper Are we making a difference in the lives of New Zealanders – how will we know? introduces the wellbeing measurement approach. The work complements activity undertaken by other New Zealand government agencies to monitor or measure national level or sub population impacts on wellbeing. Uniquely, our approach focuses on how wellbeing changes as a result of a specific intervention, or social service.

A second working paper Measuring the wellbeing impacts of public policy: social housing applies the approach and produces preliminary findings based on a sample of New Zealand social housing data. It is not a final report on the impact of social housing and there are some limitations. A small sample size and difficulty in identifying people before they move into social housing mean that the results of our analysis are experimental and should not be seen in isolation from other research on the impact of social housing. However, our analysis suggests wellbeing improves for people who move into social housing. They experience improved housing quality and more free time, but report lower feelings of safety in their new neighbourhood. People also report a higher overall satisfaction with their lives.

Toward the end of 2018 we will re-execute the research with the inclusion of Statistics NZ’s latest New Zealand General Social Survey data. We look forward to sharing the results early in 2019, which, together with the social housing working paper, can support housing agencies’ own thinking when developing housing policy.

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