Subjective Wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing is measured here using the five-question World Health Organization Wellbeing Index (WHO-5), which is a widely-used tool for assessing subjective wellbeing [12]. Respondents to the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey are asked to rate the extent to which each of five emotional wellbeing components (cheerful, calm and relaxed, active and vigorous, fresh and rested, and interest in daily life) has been present or absent in their lives over the previous two-week period.

This indicator presents the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean raw score for greater Christchurch respondents. The index is scored out of a maximum 25 points, with higher scores indicating better wellbeing.

The figure shows that the emotional wellbeing of greater Christchurch residents (as measured by the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index) improved overall since 2013. After minor fluctuations between 2013 and 2015, the mean WHO-5 score increased to reach the highest levels to date, 15.4, in May 2018. While the mean WHO-5 score has decreased between 2019 and 2020, and 2020 and 2022, neither decrease is statistically significant. There is no suitable pre-earthquake or New Zealand WHO-5 data available for comparison, however, a representative, population-based survey of adults in the UK [12] found a WHO-5 mean raw score of 14.7.

The figure shows that survey respondents living in Selwyn District have generally had the highest WHO-5 mean scores across the time-series from 2013 to 2018. While the WHO-5 mean scores for Selwyn and Waimakariri districts were statistically significantly higher than those for Christchurch City, from April 2013 to September 2015, there appears to have been convergence between the three districts’ WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores since early 2016. In November 2022 the mean score for Christchurch City is stable at 14.8 (having dropped from 15.2 in June 2019).

The figure shows statistically similar WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores for European respondents (14.8) and Māori respondents (14.3), in November 2022. The mean score for Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents (15.6) was statistically significantly higher than for European respondents in November 2020 but not 2022. While the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores were generally lower for Māori respondents compared with European and Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents from 2013 to 2016 and 2018 to 2022, the majority of these differences were not statistically significant.

The figure shows a pattern of generally similar WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores for the age groups 18 to 24 years, 25 to 34 years, 35 to 49 years, and 50 to 64 years, over the period 2013 to 2022. For the 65 to 74 years, and 75 and over age group, a different pattern is seen. Both of these older age groups have had higher mean WHO-5 scores than all other age groups since 2017. For respondents aged 65 to 74 years, the difference in mean WHO-5 scores is statistically significant (compared with the three youngest age groups) for all years since 2017, and for those aged 75+ years, since 2018.

The figure shows a pattern of higher WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores for male respondents compared with female respondents, over the period from 2012 to 2020 (statistically significant differences are evident at the 09/2013, 09/2014, 09/2016, 06/2017, 06/2019, and 11/2022 time-points).

The figure shows a positive relationship between income and emotional wellbeing (WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores) for greater Christchurch, with higher income groups having higher emotional wellbeing. The differences shown between the highest income group ($100,000+ annual household income) and the lowest income group (<$30,000) have been statistically significant at all time-points (for 2022, mean WHO-5 scores 15.2 and 13.8, respectively). The differences between the middle-income groups are not statistically significant.

The figure shows that respondents with a disability or long-term health condition, had statistically significantly lower WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores compared with respondents without a disability or long-term health condition, across the time-series from 2013 to 2022. The difference between those with and those without a disability or long-term health condition is both substantial and statistically significant throughout the time-series. Mean WHO-5 scores are consistently lower for the younger group with a disability or long-term health condition, compared to the older group, a difference that is statistically significant at a number of time-points. Between 2018 and 2022 the mean raw WHO-5 score for people with a disability or long-term health condition aged 65 years and over decreased from 14.8 to 13.6, however this change was not statistically significant.

Data Sources

Source: Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury.
Survey/data set: Canterbury Wellbeing Survey to 2022. Access publicly available data from Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health website
Source data frequency: Annually.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 30/10/2023