Contrary to popular belief, wellbeing is different from ‘happiness’. Happiness can come and go in a moment, whereas wellbeing is a more stable state of being well, feeling satisfied and contented.

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index is based on average levels of satisfaction with various aspects of personal and national life. Satisfaction is expressed as a percentage score, where 0 percent is completely dissatisfied and 100 percent is completely satisfied. So a survey score of 76.5 percent on personal wellbeing means Australians, on average, feel 76.5 percent satisfied with their life.

Elements of the Personal Wellbeing Index are satisfaction with:

  • Your health;
  • Your personal relationships;
  • How safe you feel;
  • Your standard of living;
  • What you are achieving in life;
  • Feeling part of the community; and
  • Your future security.

Elements of the National Wellbeing Index are satisfaction with:

  • Australian social conditions;
  • Australian economic situation;
  • The state of the Australian environment;
  • Australian business;
  • National security; and
  • Government.

As well as looking at personal and national wellbeing, each survey explored issues of social importance as they relate to wellbeing. For example, survey 13 investigated caring at home, and the impact that providing informal care to a family member has on the wellbeing of carers. Other survey topics have included the effects of terrorism, personal financial debt, relationships and household structure, health and body weight and job security.

The full archive of 'Wellbeing of Australians' reports are available to view here.