Quality of life

Why it's important

Quality of life is a subjective measure of wellbeing. People's satisfaction with their overall quality of life provides a self-assessed measure. How people feel about their lives is one of the key ways to assess the health of our communities. 

Key points

  • Results from the 2018 Canterbury Wellbeing Survey show that just over eight in ten (81%) Greater Christchurch residents rate their quality of life positively.
  • The proportion rating their quality of life positively has remained stable since April 2016, following a significant increase in the six months before that (from 77%) in September 2015. The overall upward trend is statistically significant.

Note this is an interactive chart and you can select the legend items to change what is shown on the graph.


89% of those living in the Selwyn District rate their quality of life positively. This is similar to June 2017 (86.1%). For those living in Waimakariri District, the proportion rating quality of life positively was 81.9% in 2018 from 85.3% in 2017.

Christchurch City residents continue to rate their quality of life less positively than residents of Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts, (79.4% rating it as good or extremely good), a slight decrease from 2017 (81%).

Note: None of the changes between years were statistically significant.

In the 2018 survey, those more likely to rate their overall quality of life positively were:

  • Of European ethnicity (compared to Maori and Pacific/Asian/Indian)
  • Had higher incomes – quality of life increased as household income increased.
  • Those without a long-term health condition or disability (compared to those with one).

There were no statistically significant differences by:

  • gender
  • age

Note: this commentary is adapted from the Canterbury Health and Wellbeing Survey 2017. Reproduced with permission.

Data notes

The Canterbury Wellbeing Index was developed by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and produced in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The Index’s purpose was to monitor social recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

The Canterbury Wellbeing Survey (formerly CERA Wellbeing Survey) is a major data source for the Index.  The Survey’s purpose is to inform the monitoring of earthquake recovery by collecting data from greater Christchurch residents on self-reported wellbeing, impacts of the earthquakes, and perceptions of the recovery.

With the disestablishment of CERA in April 2016, the Ministry of Health inherited responsibility for both the Canterbury Wellbeing Index and Survey, which was subsequently delegated to the Canterbury District Health Board (Canterbury DHB).

As time has passed since the earthquakes, the emphasis of both the Index and Survey has shifted to also incorporate a broader focus on wellbeing and factors that influence wellbeing.

A substantial review of the Canterbury Wellbeing Index was undertaken by the Canterbury DHB in 2018 and it was re-launched as a website in late 2018.

The May 2018 survey is the eleventh Wellbeing Survey undertaken. The initial survey was conducted in September 2012 with six monthly surveys. From June 2017 onwards the survey is being conducted annually.

Data information and downloads

Data Source

Canterbury Wellbeing Index/(external link)

Quality of Life(external link)

Data Access

All tables/charts show Greater Christchurch and TA level data.

Date last updated

Last survey June 2018

Date next updated

Next survey May 2019

Data Download

Download the tables (external link) found under Subjective Wellbeing – Quality of Life

Page Updated

May 2019

Data breakdowns available

Geographic  Area

Greater Christchurch Urban Area


Territorial Authority level (urban area) - Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn District Council

Other download variables

Respondents who rated their overall quality of life as good or very good by Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Household Income, Disability

Links to other information and reports