For nearly all children, the
family furnishes the context inside which they are
raised and learn to socialize. It also possibly has
a major impact on chances in life in terms of
health, education, and their future status both
socially and economically.
The make-up of families in New Zealand is altering
and there are a increasing number of de facto-couple
and sole-parent families.
Even though a little over three-quarters of the
children of New Zealand live in families with two
parents, changing conventions of family formation,
reformation and dissolution have encouraged a
growing diversity of types of families.
Particularly, the population of families with
sole-parents has increased rapidly in recent years.
This change has important significances for the children’s
welfare, particular that single parents are more likely to
be disfavored with respect to income, employment, housing,
and education when likened to parents with partners.
The quickest growing children’s groups of families
with sole-parents are those with never been married
These children, in 1996, make up 44% of all
children in families with sole-parents, with an
increase of approximately 10% since 1991.
growth involves those children with sole-parents who
were antecedently in a relationship.
of the Department of Social Welfare show that 1 out
of 5 sole-parents being paid the benefit of domestic
purposes in 1996 were separated from their actual
(de facto) partner, and that 68% of all sole-parents
antecedently had partners, either de facto or
It is more possible that Maori children (and to a certain
degree children of the Pacific Islands) live with just one
parent when compared with children from other minority
groups. In 1996, about 41% of Maori children grew up
families with sole-parents. This equates with 29% of
children from the Pacific Island children, 17% of children
of European descent, and 12% of children of Asian heritage.
The majority of children who are living families
with sole-parents are with their mother. Only 1
child out of 8 in a sole-parent family has their
home with their father in 1996. Likened with
children in families with two parents, those in
families with sole-parents were two times more
likely to have a mother under the age of 30.
Another type of family that has become increasingly
common in New Zealand in later years is the family
with de facto-couples. Even though most kids who
live in families with two parents are the
off-springs of married parents (over 80%) there has
been an growth in the number of kids whose parents
are in de facto relationships.
These are unions where two people live together without that
legality of marriage.
There was an increase in the proportion of kids from
families with two parents who are in de facto relationships
raised from 9% to 14% in the period from 1991 to 1996. The
quickest increase was among kids of European heritage, where
the increase in proportion was from 7% to 10%.
Nevertheless, the children of the Maori are more likely by
as much as 3 times when compared with European kids to
belong to a family of de facto-couples.