We examine arguments for a new Longitudinal Household Survey (LHS) in New Zealand, and design and governance arrangements that would best realise the value of a new LHS. Other instruments such as cohort studies, cross-sectional surveys, the census and longitudinally linked administrative data will only go part way in filling the gap left by the end of SoFIE (Survey of Family Income and Employment Dynamics).
There are some key areas of social science and policy focus, such as the dynamics, causes and consequences of poverty spells, that will only ever be clarified by data from an LHS. In addition, a purpose-designed LHS will enable a wide range of phenomena to be investigated in a multidisciplinary and household context using internationally comparable concepts that can be supplemented over time in response to emerging issues.
The next step is to define a specific option for a new LHS, and evaluate prospective research and policy benefits against the costs.