http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-na ... -7rtp.html
You can download the full survey results here (3mb) ==> http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news ... -00001.pdf. It's good reading and covers many factors (age, health, proximity, gender, pets, home ownership, govt, your electorate, your work, income, etc)Bush folks 'happier than city slickers'
Frustrated city dwellers longing for a quieter life are right to look with envy at all those sea and tree-changers.
A new study shows living in country towns, where everyone knows everyone, is a happier existence than the hustle and bustle of city life.
Australians who live in regional areas with fewer than 40,000 people have a higher sense of personal wellbeing than those living in cities, the study shows.
It's also found that residents in the Campbelltown area of Sydney and Greater Dandenong in Melbourne, which have high numbers of recent migrants, have the lowest sense of wellbeing.
The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index measures people's overall feeling of wellbeing through satisfaction with factors including health, relationships, safety, standard of living and community connection.
The research shows that once the proportion of people in an area not born in Australia exceeds 40 per cent, wellbeing starts to fall.
Deakin University Professor Bob Cummins, the author of the index, says wellbeing is related to a sense of community.
"Anybody who's lived in a small country town knows ... that everybody says hello to everybody else," he told AAP.
"You become very quickly connected to those communities."
But he says areas with a high number of new Australians have lower levels of social connection.
"This acts then to reduce the wellbeing of people in those areas," he says.
"What this signals to government is that more resources are clearly required, not in terms of financial support ... but in terms of social interventions, about bringing people of different cultures together."
He says policy makers need to direct more resources to these areas.
The normal range in Australia for wellbeing, according to the index, is between 73.4 and 76.4, on a scale of 0 to 100.
Greater Dandenong has a wellbeing rating of 71.5 while Campbelltown is lower, at 70.8.
Glenelg, a region in south-west Victoria which includes the town of Portland, has the highest rating of 80.74.
NSW rates lowest on the scale of all the Australian states and territories, while South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria are the highest.
The latest index brought together the results of wellbeing surveys of about 35,000 people across Australia, between 2001 and 2008.
Here's some extracts from the survey results:
Who is the happiest?
• People tend to get happier as they get older
• Women on the whole, are more satisfied with their lives than men
• People who live with their partner are happier, especially married people
• People who volunteer generally report higher levels of happiness
• Happiness generally increases proportionately with income, but only up to a household income of around $100,000 where it begins to plateau.
Which capital city is the happiest?
People living in Melbourne and Brisbane have the highest wellbeing of Australia’s capital cities, with Perth and Sydney lagging well behind.
Melburnians and Brisbanites scored highly across a number of wellbeing indicators, with the highest levels of personal
wellbeing and community connection of all the cities.
Although lower than Melbourne and Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Darwin also rated their satisfaction with life highly.
Sydney and Perth had lower personal wellbeing and also rated significantly lower than the other capitals in terms of community connection and safety. High population density and the cost of living in Sydney is a significant factor in their lower wellbeing score.
Although Perth has similar demographics to Brisbane, their relative low wellbeing score may be due to it being the most isolated capital in the world. The resources boom also means there is an influx of ‘outsiders’, which can be disruptive to cohesive communities.
So, what’s your Personal Wellbeing Index? On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being very dissatisfied and 10 being very satisfied, rate how satisfied you are with:
? Your health
? Your personal relationships
? Your safety
? Your standard of living
? What you’re currently achieving in life
? Your community connection
? Your future security
? Your spirituality/religion
Add your responses together & divide by the number of questions answered (eight). Multiply this number by 10 to get your Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI). This is your wellbeing score out of 100. See how you compare to the national average, which hovers around the 75 mark.
To take an online version of the Personal Wellbeing Index, go to: http://www.australianunity.com.au/wellbeingindex. Tips are also provided at the end of the online questionnaire as to what you should do if you have a low wellbeing score.