The wellbeing of Australians: gambling, chocolate and swine flu

Social isolation Well-being Social issues Australia

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index monitors the subjective wellbeing of the Australian population. The first survey was conducted in April 2001 and this report concerns the 21st survey, undertaken in May 2009. 

The previous survey had been conducted six months earlier in October 2008.  This six month period corresponded to the 12-18 month period of the new Labor Government, elected in November 2007.  It was also marked by an increasing appreciation that the international financial situation was worsening and that Australia would be adversely affected to some degree.

By the time of the survey, the share market had decreased by over 30%.  Clearly this threatened many people’s investments and superannuation.  However, few people had lost their jobs as a direct consequence of the economic environment and, for those people with jobs, many were better-off financially due to cuts in interest rates, and so, in mortgage repayments.

Each survey involves a telephone interview with a new sample of 2,000 Australians, selected to represent the geographic distribution of the national population. These surveys comprise the Personal Wellbeing Index, which measures people’s satisfaction with their own lives, and the National Wellbeing Index, which measures how satisfied people are with life in Australia. Other items include a standard set of demographic questions and other survey-specific questions. The specific topics for Survey 21 are Swine Flu, Chocolate Eating, and Gambling.

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