People living in and around Canberra are on average happier than Australians in other parts of the country, according to a new study from the University of Canberra.
The fourth “Living Well in the ACT Region,” conducted by the University of Canberra’s Health Research Institute, found that only 17.6% of ACT adults reported a low level of well-being, compared with 24.8% of ACT adults. all Australians.
On Thursday, lead researcher Professor Jacki Schirmer said in a statement that the research was interesting as it showed how the well-being of ACT residents changed between the first and second blockade of Covid-19 in 2020 and in the 2021.
“Although personal well-being declined during the first block, it did not decline significantly for most Canberrans during the second,” he said.
“The survey results suggest that while 47.1% of Canberrans told us they found the second block harder to tackle than the first, many actually managed to maintain their well-being despite the block’s challenges.”
The well-being indicators measured in the survey include personal well-being, access and connectivity, connection with nature, health, identity and belonging, standard of living, security and social connection.
The survey data contributes to the reporting for the territory government’s ACT Wellbeing Framework, which was established following consultation in 2019 and 2020 with Canberrans on “what is most important to their quality of life.”
Explaining the purpose of the framework, the ACT government said that “existing measures of economic progress do not capture all the issues that may be important to a community.”
“Quality of life issues are often masked in such statistics, with life satisfaction not necessarily tracking measures of economic growth for the whole community,” he says.
“By turning our attention to social progress indicators and considering them alongside the economic issues we already measure, we will begin to form a clearer picture of the broader effects that political and non-political factors have on our people, businesses, places and systems.”
The University of Canberra survey found that some groups experienced a decline in well-being, particularly those living alone or in units or apartments.
“Carers have had a particularly marked decline in what was already a below-average level of well-being in this group, along with those living with a mental disability,” said prof. Schirmer.
“This highlights the need to invest in the support of those groups whose welfare has been most affected in the past two years.”
The report also indicates a decline in the perception of overall livability in the region, down to 87.8 percent, from 94.7 percent in the 2020 survey. The decline was greatest among Canberra’s youth, renters, live in units and apartments and those who have lived in Canberra for less than five years.
“The findings suggest that among these groups, the effects of Covid-19 on the ability to socialize, study and work face-to-face, as well as attending community events, have had a significant impact,” said Prof. Schirmer.
He said the ACT government has pioneered the development of a welfare framework that governments can use to inform their decision-making, and other states and the federal government have recently begun to follow suit.
“This type of data can help governments and other organizations such as community groups identify where they can best invest and support those who are struggling the most,” he said.
ACT residents, including people living in Canberra, Queanbeyan, Yass and Murrumbateman, are invited to take part in the next phase of the research by answering the 10-minute survey.
“We may not be in lockdown, but 2022 is certainly bringing its share of challenges,” said prof. Schirmer.
“We invite all people living in the Canberra region to take part in the latest round of the ‘Living Well’ survey.”
Originally published as happier Canberra residents than other regions, the University of Canberra study notes