Context statement: Subjective indicator of wellbeing, reflecting the notion that people are their own best judge of their wellbeing.
In 2020, on average, Australians rated their overall life satisfaction as 7.2 (out of 10), compared with 7.5 in 2019 and 7.6 in 2014 (ABS 2021). Males and females reported similar levels of life satisfaction each year.
With the exception of people aged 70 years or over, most people reported a lower overall life satisfaction in 2020 compared with 2019. Older people aged 70 years and over reported an overall life satisfaction of 7.9 while young people aged 15–24 reported an overall life satisfaction of 6.9 in 2020 (ABS 2021).
Results of the ANUpoll show that since the onset of COVID-19 life satisfaction has had quite rapid changes over a short period of time. Average life satisfaction (rated on a scale of 0 to 10) fell substantially during the early stages of the pandemic (from 6.9 in January 2020 to 6.5 in April 2020), rising again as infection rates and lockdown conditions started to be eased (6.8 in May 2020), but declining again to 6.5 in August 2021 (Biddle & Gray 2021).
For further information, including the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on life satisfaction, see The use of mental health services, psychological distress, loneliness, suicide, ambulance attendances and COVID-19.
For international comparisons, see International comparisons of welfare data.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2021. General Social Survey; Reference period 2020. Canberra: ABS.
Biddle, N and Gray, M 2021. Tracking wellbeing outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic (August 2021): Lockdown blues. Australian National University: ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.