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All main benefits - December 2017 quarter

Five-year trend

Numbers of working-age people receiving main benefits at the end of the December quarter have consistently dropped over the last five years, from 339,095 as at 31 December 2012 to 289,788 as at 31 December 2017 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Quarterly main benefit numbers, December 2012 to December 2017

Figure 1: Quarterly main benefit numbers, December 2012 to December 2017

Note 1: Working-age people are aged 18 to 64 years. This definition reflects the minimum age of eligibility for most main benefits and the age of qualification for New Zealand Superannuation.

Note 2: Jobseeker Support (JS), Supported Living Payment (SLP), and Sole Parent Support (SPS).

Note 3: Other includes Youth Payment (YP), Young Parent Payment (YPP), Emergency Maintenance Allowance (EMA), Emergency Benefit (EB), Jobseeker Student Hardship (JSSH), Widow’s Benefit Overseas (WBO), and Sole Parent Support Overseas (SPSO).

The proportion of the working-age population receiving a main benefit at the end of the December quarter has gradually decreased over the last five years, from 12.5 percent as at 31 December 2012 to 9.8 percent as at 31 December 2017 (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Proportion of working-age population receiving main benefits, December 2012 to December 2017

Figure 2: Proportion of working-age population receiving main benefits, December 2012 to December 2017

Annual comparison

31-Dec-16

31-Dec-17

Annual change

Number of working-age people receiving a main benefit

297,010 289,788 2.4 percent decrease

Number of Jobseeker Support recipients

124,311 123,041 1.0 percent decrease

Number of Sole Parent Support recipients

64,970 60,678 6.6 percent decrease

Number of Supported Living Payment recipients

93,418 93,022 0.4 percent decrease

Number of recipients on other main benefits

14,311 13,047 8.8 percent decrease

Percentage of working-age population receiving a main benefit

10.3% 9.8% 0.5 percentage point decrease

Note 1: Working-age people are aged 18 to 64 years. This definition reflects the minimum age of eligibility for most main benefits and the age of qualification for New Zealand Superannuation.

Note 2: YP/YPP recipients shown are 18+ years. There were 1,590 YP/YPP recipients aged 16 to 17 years at the end of December 2017. From 25 October 2016, the Youth Service was extended to include 19 year-old teen parents (YPP), and changes were introduced for young partners and young parent partners participating in the youth services.

Note 3: Other main benefits include YP, YPP, EMA, EB, JSSH, WBO, and SPSO.

Note 4: Percentage of working-age population is based on Statistics NZ National Population Estimate year ended June for relevant years (eg estimates as at the end of June 2017 have been used for the December 2017 quarter).