Health and Independence Report 2020

Published online: 
11 February 2022
Publication cover


The 2020 Health and Independence report presents an overview of the state of public health in New Zealand, it does this by presenting data from a range of sources. It complements the Ministry’s Annual Report, which includes detailed information about the strategic direction of the health and disability system and measures of its performance and impact.

This report covers the period to December 2020 and includes a section on the impacts of COVID-19, both globally and in New Zealand.

The 2020 report is divided into six sections.

Starting point – presents an overview of New Zealand’s population, with an emphasis on Māori, Pacific peoples and disabled people.

COVID-19 – New Zealand had lower than expected mortality in 2020 compared with previous years, whereas globally most other countries had excess mortality. The elimination strategy used in New Zealand was successful at limiting the numbers of cases and deaths.

Health section – provides a wide range of information on various health topics. This section also provides more specific information on children, youth and older people for various topics, such as the occurrence of asthma in children.

Determinants of health and wellbeing – describes wider factors that contribute to people’s health and wellbeing. Socioeconomic factors can both directly and indirectly impact a person’s health, for example living in an area with higher levels of deprivation is associated with worse health.

Equity – an overview of recommendations, planned actions and work in progress to address inequity in health outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Looking forward – outlines the major challenges (COVID-19) and changes (The New Zealand Health and Disability System Review) to our national health system that will be covered in the 2021 year’s Health and Independence report.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    11 February 2022
  • ISBN:
    Online: ISBN 978-1-99-100784-1, Print: ISBN 978-1-99-100783-4
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2021. Health and Independence Report 2020: The Director-General of Health’s annual report on the state of public health. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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