Subjective Wellbeing

Sense of purpose

Sense of purpose is a self-reported measure that reflects whether people feel they have a sense of purpose or meaning in life. The sense of purpose question in the New Zealand General Social Survey (introduced in 2014) [19] asks respondents ‘to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?’ using a zero to ten scale, where zero is not at all worthwhile and ten is completely worthwhile.

This indicator presents the proportion of respondents to the New Zealand General Social Survey who rated the extent to which they feel the things they do in their life are worthwhile, at seven or above on a zero to ten scale.

The figure shows that a similar proportion of Canterbury respondents selected a self-rating of 7-10 for the things they do in their life being worthwhile in the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2021 New Zealand General Social Surveys (87.9%, 87.7%, 87.5%, and 87.0%).

There was no appreciable difference between the proportion for Canterbury respondents and the proportion for New Zealand overall. The proportion of all respondents across New Zealand scoring 7-10 for life worthwhile has remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2021.

Data Sources

Source: Statistics New Zealand.
Survey/data set: New Zealand General Social Survey to 2021. Access publicly available data from the Statistics New Zealand website
Source data frequency: Every 2 years.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 31/08/2023