PANZ Jacoby Prize Winner 2006/07 - Population Association of New

Statistics New Zealand Jacoby Prize Winner 2006/07
'Place Attachment in New Zealand'
Catherine J. Schroder
School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
Email: [email protected]
Attachment to place has always played an ambiguous role in demography.
While stability dominates over the life course, it is population movement which preoccupies the study of population. Although stability plays a fundamental role in
understanding how and why people move, we have very little understanding of our
attachment to place – what drives it, who is attached, and how, and most
particularly the role that place itself plays in residential stability. This essay
addresses each of these questions and results in a set of arguments that can now be
applied to better understanding mobility in New Zealand.
The international literature on place attachment suggests that it is driven out of
several different relationships to place. Collectively these are expressed in terms of
attitudes (e.g. sentiment and satisfaction) and behaviour (formal and informal social
networks). This New Zealand study applies principal component factor analysis to 25
questions asked in a purpose designed survey of 1001 residents in 2005. Five
principal dimensions are uncovered: sentiment, friends, relatives, participation in,
and satisfaction with the community. Together they account for nearly half of the
total variance. In New Zealand too, attachment to place is multidimensional.
Multiple regression models are estimated for each of the five dimensions of
attachment showing how each dimension drives different subpopulations: the elderly
were more highly attached through sentimental feelings towards the community
whereas families with children were attached through friends and participation, while
respondents of Maori ethnicity were more like to be attached by family than their of
New Zealand European counterparts.
Of particular interest is the way in which, even after controlling for the characteristics
of respondents, different types of places invoked different dimensions of attachment.
Although population size performed poorly as a discriminator of attachment, when
recast in terms of type, size, and position on an urban-rural continuum place proved
more robust. Also important in explaining levels of attachment was the socioeconomic level of the community.
The five dimensions derived from this the survey of attachment are now being used
as arguments in models of mobility itself: who moves, when and from what location.
The full essay will be reproduced in the next PANZ Population