Housing-related experiences of families with young children in contemporary Aotearoa

Housing-related experiences of families with young…
01 Nov 2021


The objective of this research is to describe the living experiences in different housing tenure types and quality of housing that New Zealand children experience during their early years. This information will facilitate an understanding of how housing tenure changes over time for New Zealand families, and identify some of the key demographic, family, household and neighbourhood/community characteristics that are associated with these residential situations. It will also highlight the differences in early life child outcomes in New Zealand.


This study used data from the Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) cohort across the first four years of a child’s life to understand the housing experiences of children and their families, particularly those living in rental accommodation and those in low income households. The research used both longitudinal data and sequence state cluster analyses to understand the pathways and changes in housing tenure (home ownership, public rental, and private rental) and income states that families experienced across time.

Key Results

  • GUiNZ cohort families experienced a high degree of movement between housing tenure and income bands during their child’s first four years of life, with 30% of families changing housing tenure at least once in the preschool period.
  • Home ownership with high household income (greater than $100K per year) was the state least likely to have changed across the four timepoints, while families in the private rental market and those in public housing experienced a much greater number of different housing and income journeys, i.e. changes in states, over the first four years.
  • Although tenure type changes were common, the majority of journey changes were due to families experiencing changes in their household income through the period rather than changes in their housing tenure.
  • While the report demonstrates associations between housing and income, and specific measures of wellbeing, causality has not been addressed. However, these results highlight the need for and importance of wrapping support around families whose journeys were associated with poorer health and wellbeing outcomes.
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