A study by the New Zealand Work Research Institute at AUT has quantified the scale of transience in New Zealand, with a particular focus on those considered to be ‘vulnerable transient’.
The research found that 5.6% of New Zealanders moved three or more times during the three year period studied. The majority of these people (4%) were classified as being vulnerable transient. They had experienced at least three moves in three years, with at least one of these moves towards or within the most deprived neighbourhoods in New Zealand.
Commissioned by Superu, the Residential Movement within New Zealand reportfound approximately 150,000 people, or equivalent to the population of Tauranga, fell into the vulnerable transient category, with close to half of the vulnerable transient group living at an address for at least two short spells of less than six months during the study period.
High levels of residential mobility (transience) have been linked with a range of poor outcomes for those directly affected, including poorer health and educational attainment. Report co-author, Professor Gail Pacheco, says females and Māori are more likely to fall into the vulnerable transient population in New Zealand.
“In particular, even after controlling for a range of demographic characteristics, and access to different forms of social services, we still find that Māori are twice as likely to be vulnerable transient compared to Europeans”
Adults with at least one recent benefit spell (in the five years before the study period) were two and half times more likely to be vulnerable transient, compared to adults with no recent benefit history.
The research also looked at a number of other government services that are associated with or targeted towards vulnerable populations, which included social housing, working for families, being charged in court, receiving a mental health referral and visiting a hospital emergency department. Vulnerable transient adults, youth and children, were more likely to have a recent history of receiving these government services than the rest of the population.
“The results presented here provide the first attempt to quantify the scale of transience and vulnerable transience in NZ and build a comprehensive description of who these people are. Understanding the extent of transience will inform the work of a number of agencies who deliver services to vulnerable populations,” Professor Pacheco says.