New research shows 150,000 vulnerable transient Kiwis

1 February 2018

Superu's latest research explores the issues around frequent residental movements and finds a vulnerable transient population roughly the size of Tauranga.

Previous studies have linked frequent residential movement with poorer outcomes for the affected individuals and their families, including poor education and health outcomes. Frequent residential moves, especially involuntary ones, can also worsen physical and mental wellbeing and future human capital.

Our research, called 'Residential movement within New Zealand: Quantifying and characterising the transient population', found that 5.6 percent of New Zealanders moved three or more times during the three year period studied. Over two-thirds of these people, (4 percent of New Zealanders) were classified as being vulnerable transient, which is approximately 150,000 people and equivalent to the population of Tauranga. These people had experienced at least three moves in three years, with a least one of these moves towards or within our most deprived neighbourhoods.

Being female, Māori, associated with a social welfare benefit, experiencing social housing, facing court charges, having a Child Youth and Family (CYF)* event, having a mental health event or visiting a hospital emergency department are all associated with a substantial increase in the chances of being in this group.

The most important characteristic appears to be association with a social welfare benefit. The chances of being transient are more than 2.5 times greater for individuals receiving a benefit during the five years before our reference period than for those not on a benefit during the same period (holding all other factors constant).

Superu commissioned Auckland University of Technology to conduct the research under the Social Sector Ministerial Research Fund. At the time of the research, the Fund was managed by Superu.

Read the full report here.


* This research was conducted before CYF became the Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki.

Last update: 8 Feb 2018