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Hardship, distress, and resilience: the initial impacts of COVID-19 in Australia

COVID-19 Pandemics Employment Financial stress Income Labour market Australia


This paper provides a summary of the impact of COVID-19 on labour market outcomes, income, financial stress, social cohesiveness, political attitudes, subjective wellbeing, and psychological distress. It is based on data from the 33rd ANUpoll which collected information from 3,155 Australians over the period 14-27 April 2020. It is the first longitudinal survey data on the impact of COVID-19 in Australia, with respondents to the April ANUpoll also interviewed in January and February 2020.

The findings suggest large declines in employment and income, significant increases in social isolation and psychological distress, changes in household structure, and significant uncertainty about the future. At the same time, we observe greater confidence in government and the public service, large improvements in social trust, and substantial observance of physical distancing measures.

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