Updating Socioeconomic Status and Wellbeing - NZSEI-06

We have developed the NZSEI-06, an occupation-based measure of socio-economic status derived using data from the 2006 New Zealand Census. The NZSEI-06 can be used both as a continuous scale (from 10, low SES, to 90, high SES) and as a categorical grouping of occupations, and is applicable to both full- and part-time workers and the self-employed. The algorithm used to derive NZSEI-06 scores is based on the “returns to human capital” model of social stratification, in which occupation is viewed as the means by which human capital (education) is converted into material rewards (income). Initial assessments of the scale suggest that it classifies occupations similarly to its predecessor (the NZSEI-96) and also similarly to an Australian occupation-based SES scale, the AUSEI-06. The NZSEI-06 also validates well against a number of health and socio-economic correlates for both sexes and also for four major ethnic groups: European and Other (including New Zealander), Māori, Pacific, and Asian. As a measure of individual SES, the NZSEI-06 requires only occupational data for its classification, and so can be readily applied to administrative datasets and social surveys. Moreover, ‘imputed’ NZSEI-06 scores appear suitable for the classification of those outside of the workforce. Thus, the NZSEI-06 is likely to be a useful addition to the toolbox of researchers wishing to assess and understand the impact of SES on a range of outcomes.

New Zealand socio-economic index 2006

Barry J Milne, PhD, Ui Byun, MSc, Alan Lee, PhD

This report describes the construction and initial assessment of the New Zealand socio-economic index 2006 (NZSEI-06), which is an update of the New Zealand socio-economic index (NZSEI) using 2006 Census data. Both NZSEI-06 socio-economic scores (ranging from 10–90) and NZSEI-06 socio-economic groups (a six-group classification, NZSEI-06 quartiles and NZSEI-06 deciles) are described and evaluated.