Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Growing up in New Zealand

According to the NZ Herald, the restructured Families Commission is to take responsibility for the Growing Up in NZ study which has a sample of just under 7,000 babies born in Counties Manukau and Waikato in a period between 2009-2010.

Coincidentally I was looking at that study just yesterday. Regarding 'family resources',  at nine months of age it found 18 percent of babies had parents who received income from a main benefit in their first year. This number is too low, especially in those regions. The reason for the undercount is probably considerable drop-out from the study - 7 percent by nine months. And quite probably the very people we need to take more notice of, those families that are least able to provide good care for their children, are the ones most likely to drop out. So as long-term studies go it is already carrying a frustrating deficiency.

Nevertheless the first report is chocker full of interesting information about the babies and their parents. Things that stand out for me include the high reported use of marijuana, especially by partners; one in ten mothers smoked tobacco through pregnancy; reported relationship status doesn't match  DPB use when the baby is young - that is a fair number of people receiving the DPB actually have a partner. 457 mothers had no partner when the baby was 9 months yet 723 received income from the DPB.  And 8-9 percent slept in their parent's bed.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more.. What's the use of a longitudinal study where the most disadvantaged drop out?

Anonymous said...

If there ever was evidence of benefit fraud there it is. Surely not all of those recipients with partners could claim an abusive partner and be entitled to the DPB anyway.