New Zealanders are relatively content with their lives, with most saying they are in good health, can afford everyday needs and feel safe in their homes after dark.
Telephone interviewers talked to 500 people in each of 12 main cities and districts and 2000 people from the rest of the country for the third National Quality of Life survey.
It found just over nine out of 10 people rated their quality of life as good or better.
Almost nine out of 10 people in the 12 cities said their overall health was good or better, and about 86 per cent in the 12 cities and 88 per cent outside them said they had enough money to cover everyday living costs.
The survey of 8100 people was paid for by 12 participating councils and the Ministry of Social Development.
Since the last survey, in 2006, far fewer people said they had not visited the doctor when they wanted to because of the cost.
The number of people who said they wanted to visit a GP in the past year but didn't fell from 20 per cent in 2006 to 6 per cent.
Universal subsidies for doctors visits and prescriptions were introduced in 2007.
The number of people who said cost was the main reason for not visiting a doctor when they wanted to fell from 53 per cent to 19 per cent for residents of the 12 cities, and from 41 per cent to 15 per cent for residents of other places.
The most common reasons given for not going to the doctor were waiting times and the doctor being too busy.
Although people were concerned about vandalism, car theft and dangerous driving, nine out of 10 said they felt safe in their homes.
Manukau and Tauranga were the places people were least likely to feel safe in their homes after dark.
Christchurch residents were least likely to feel safe in the city centre after dark - although that didn't stop 71 per cent of them saying they felt proud of their city.
People in Wellington and North Shore were the most likely to feel safe in their city centres.
Overall, only 11 per cent of people said they felt safe in their city centre at night. The most common reasons given for not feeling safe were the perception of dangerous people in the area, media coverage of crime, and central city alcohol and drug problems.
People were proudest of their city in Wellington, with 82 per cent of respondents feeling a sense of pride. Manukau (43 per cent) and Auckland people (51 per cent) were least proud.
Those living outside the 12 cities were more likely to feel connected to their communities than people in the cities, with 65 per cent saying they felt a sense of community in their neighbourhood compared with 54 per cent in the cities.
People in cities were more likely to be happy about the arrival of people from other cultures.
One issue that may be of concern to local authorities is a decline in physical exercise since the last survey. Fewer than half (49 per cent) of people in the 12 cities said they were physically active five or more times a week, compared with 56 per cent in 2006.
The 12 participating councils were North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, Manukau, Rodney, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Porirua, Hutt, Christchurch and Dunedin.
* What people think
Quality of life:
92 per cent of people rated their quality of life good or better.
59 per cent of residents of the cities felt people from different cultures made their city a better place to live.
87 per cent from the 12 cities rated their overall health as good or better.
49 per cent of people in the 12 cities were physically active, compared with 57 per cent outside main cities.
96 per cent in the cities felt safe in their homes during day and 93 per cent felt safe after dark.