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Australian Unity Wellbeing Index 2016

20 Dec 2016

Australians are more satisfied with their lives now than at any time since the year 2000.

The latest Australian Unity Wellbeing Index survey finds average life satisfaction in 2016 hit a record score of 76.7, the highest since the index’s inception in 2000. It continues an upward trend that began in 2006.1

This comes despite a long-term decline in health satisfaction over the last 16 years2, and increasing concern about the possibility of a terrorist attack.

“These findings reiterate a major theme of the Wellbeing Index over time, which is that satisfaction with one’s health is not a significant driver of their personal wellbeing,’’ Deakin University senior research fellow Delyse Hutchinson says.

“Of greater importance are financial security, a sense of purpose in life and strong relationships. We call this the ‘golden triangle of wellbeing’,’’ Dr Hutchinson says.

The index, a joint project of Australian Unity and the Australian Centre on Quality of Life (Deakin University), evaluates satisfaction with life across a range of areas—standard of living, health, achievement, personal relationships, safety, community connection and future security. A personal wellbeing score out of 100 is recorded.

“The domains of standard of living (80.8), safety (82.0), community connection (73.7) and future security (73.3) reached their highest recorded levels, which is interesting when set against the finding on the perceived likelihood of a terrorist attack,’’ Dr Hutchinson says.

She says while the index does not examine the reasons behind this increasing happiness trend, “overall life satisfaction also runs deeper than our daily concerns about housing costs or job insecurities.”

The survey also notes that wellbeing is significantly lower for adults who continue to live with their parents.

“For those living with their parents, average life satisfaction (72.0) is the lowest it has been for 10 years,” Dr Hutchinson says.

The full report can be viewed at:

For further information or to request an interview, please contact: Dr Delyse Hutchinson (0425 218 628) or

For further questions, please contact Stephen Lunn, Australian Unity, (0401 704 352), or


1. Overall PWI


2. Health satisfaction


The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index monitors the subjective wellbeing of the population on issues of personal wellbeing and national wellbeing. The first survey was conducted in April 2001 and this report concerns the 33rd survey undertaken in March 2016. The latest survey involved telephone interviews of 1,000 Australians across 10 marginal electorates.

About Australian Unity

Australian Unity is a national health, wealth and living mutual company providing services to almost one million Australians, including 300,000 members. Australian Unity’s history as a trusted mutual organisation dates back to 1840. It has grown organically—by continually evolving to provide the services and products needed by the communities it serves—as well as through successful strategic mergers and diversification in to new business activities.

About Deakin University

Established in 1974, Deakin University was the first university in regional Victoria and the first to specialise in distance education. Deakin today has five campuses: one in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, two in Geelong, one in Warrnambool with the fifth, and fastest growing campus, in the cloud (online). Deakin has more than 53,000 students, with almost a quarter choosing to study wholly in the cloud. Through its teaching and research Deakin aims to build the jobs of the future, using the opportunities of the digital age to widen access to education and make a difference to the communities it serves.

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