While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.


State of the nation 2021

Disturbed present, better future?
Social wellbeing Children Crime Housing Social inequality New Zealand

This report looks at five specific areas of social wellbeing and measures outcomes that impact on the wellbeing of the communities, whānau and individuals that the Salvation Army, Te Ope Whakaora, works with.

The information used in this report is taken mainly from publicly available statistics and reports using the very latest indicators where possible, including statistics for the year to 31 December 2020, if available before publication. The focus is on national-level trends and outcomes that can tell us something of the overall state of our nation in 2021.

Key findings:

  • Food Security – In 2020 The Salvation Army distributed more than 110,000 food parcels – double the number in 2019. This is the highest number in the 14 years of this report.
  • Housing – the ‘sharper end’ of housing is very worrying, with soaring numbers on the social housing register, in transitional housing, and receiving emergency housing grants. There is are also serious challenges facing renters and first-home buyers.
  • Children – The number of children in benefit households increased by more than 23,000 during 2020, and Covid-19 has impacted more heavily on students from lower decile schools. But there is some good progress, with continuing decreases in youth offending and teen pregnancies.
  • Social Hazards – Methamphetamine continues to dominate drug offences; cannabis offences declined; and financial hardship worsened in 2020, with more clients presenting to The Salvation Army with higher debt levels.
  • Crime and punishment – The trends seen in offending and victimisation in previous reports have continued in 2020. The overall offending levels have had minimal change, whilst victimisation levels continue to increase and, as a result, the resolution rates for offences continues to decline.
  • Work and incomes – Government spending on welfare massively increased because of Covid-19, focused mainly on short-term responses such as the Wage Subsidy Scheme, but the impacts will be long-lasting. There is rising unemployment and youth unemployment rose during the year, and those not in education, employment, or training (NEET) is now the highest number since 2012.
Publication Details
Access Rights Type: