Study reveals what makes Australians feel happy


The annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey has revealed details about what we believe keeps us happy and healthy.

Alcohol, a busy work-life, high incomes and a quiet home - some of the key ingredients to living a happy life in Australia, according to the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.

The long-term study of nearly 20,000 Australians revealed things that Australians believe keep them happy and healthy.

As well as a healthy weight and having a comfortable level of income, there were some more surprising findings.

According to the survey, people who drink up to 42 alcoholic drinks per week - that's an average of six drinks a day - are still reporting high levels of short-term health and well-being.

However authors of the survey though cautioned readers the questionaire did not take into account the long-term effects of drinking.

The survey also found that the more people worked, the better their health was.

Australians said they were satisfied working more than 51 hours in paid work and 81 hours of total work.

According to the report, Australians don't mind the technical overtime and it has no detrimental effect on their wellbeing.

HILDA report author Associate Professor Roger Wilkins, from the University’s Melbourne Institute, said the survey provided important data for Australians.

“The report examines what makes Australians happy and healthy. It is vital tool for researchers and policymakers who examine and construct the social and economic direction for Australia,” Associate Professor Wilkins said.

Here's an overview of some other findings:

What makes Australians happy and healthy

  • Living with a partner increases men’s health, but not women’s.
  • Towns smaller than 1,000 people and non-urban areas increase life satisfaction the most, closely followed by urban areas outside major cities.
  • Neighbors helping out and doing things together have large positive effects on life satisfaction.
  • Those who lived in wealthier areas report higher levels of life satisfaction.

Employment and earnings

  • Having a child significantly reduces likelihood of women re-entering the workforce but has no impact on men’s employment.
  • Changing employer is the best way to improve earnings growth.
  • The gender pay gap is increasing for part time workers.
  • Australians over 50 are the least likely to re-enter the workforce.
  • Time spent on welfare benefits is longer for those who commence on unemployment benefits than for those who commence on parenting payments.

Relationship satisfaction

  • Men and women in de facto relationships are, on average, more satisfied with their partners.
  • The longer the duration of the relationship, the lower the satisfaction (except after 20 or more years of marriage).
  • Kids make us less happy in relationships.
  • On average, men are more satisfied with their partners than women.

Parent/child relationships

  • Children who moved out of the parental home at 21-24 years had an optimal outcome in terms of income and wealth in later adulthood. The situation is significantly worse for those who move out before the age of 18 and to a lesser extent 18-20 or over 25.
  • Having an employed mother while a daughter is 14 years of age means she is more likely to have a higher income later in life, however, for a son this doesn’t make any difference.

Sexual identity and wellbeing

  • People who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) on average have poorer health and are less happy than people who identify as heterosexual.
  • Gay and bisexual men feel less safe than heterosexual men.
  • Smoking rates are much higher in LGB people – 33.8% of males and 26.8% of females – compared to 19.8% and 14.1% for heterosexual males and females respectively.

Here's a tune for all you happy Aussies out there:

Source SBS

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch