Australian “wellbeing” drops according to NAB survey

How are you feeling? Are you better or worse off than you were before?

Does it surprise you to know that a recent NAB survey showed Australian “wellbeing” fell to its lowest level since the survey began. The NAB Australian Wellbeing Index fell to 61.7 points in Q2 2014 (64.6 points in Q1 2014).

At the same time anxiety was shown to still the biggest detractor of overall wellbeing.

And a “wellbeing gap” has emerged between the highest and lowest income earners. 

Australians’ rated their life satisfaction, worthwhile life and happiness lower, but were also slightly more anxious.

Tasmania remains the highest state for overall wellbeing, with NSW/ACT and Queensland equal lowest.

Among other key findings, those earning $50-75K, females aged 18-29, retirees and labourers were the only groups that rated their overall wellbeing higher in Q2, while overall wellbeing was rated highest by those earning over $100K and lowest for divorced people.

In a Special Report (“Factors Most Impacting Anxiety”) NAB examined the key factors that impact personal anxiety and detract from overall wellbeing.

General finances had by far the biggest impact on anxiety, followed by physical and mental health, personal relationships and work issues.

Substance use/abuse, natural disasters, pregnancy or birth and impending retirement had the smallest impact.

Australian "wellbeing" drops according to NAB survey

Australian "wellbeing" drops according to NAB survey

A deeper look at the data highlights some further developments…

  • There was a notable increase in the number of Australians who rated wellbeing “very low” with regards to satisfied life to 20.2% in Q2 (15.2% in Q1).
    At the same time, only 53.6% of Australians rated life satisfaction “medium” or “high” (59.9% in Q1).
  • Almost 1 in 5 (18.2%) now rate the worthwhile life question “very low”, up from 12.1% in Q1.
  • Overall, more Australians were less happy in Q2, with around 43% rating the happy yesterday question “very low” or “low”, compared with 38% in the previous survey.
  • Anxiety continues to detract from personal wellbeing for a significant proportion of Australians, with almost 37% rating the not anxious yesterday question “very low” in Q2, up from 35.4% in Q1.

Main Findings

The NAB Australian Wellbeing Index fell to 61.7 points in Q2 2014 (64.6 points in Q1 2014). Australians’ rated their life satisfaction, worthwhile life and happiness lower, but were also slightly more anxious.[sam id=37 codes=’true’]

  • Anxiety continues to be the biggest detractor to the overall wellbeing of Australians. General finances had by far the biggest impact on personal anxiety, followed by physical/mental health, personal relationships and work issues.
    Substance use/abuse, natural disasters, pregnancy or birth and impeding retirement had the smallest impact (see our special report “Factors Most Impacting Anxiety” also released today).
  • Tasmania continues to rate as the highest state for overall wellbeing and for all measures except anxiety, where it rated worst. NSW/ACT and Queensland were equal lowest.
    Australians located in rural towns/bush now also rate their overall wellbeing highest (lowest in Q1 2014).
  • Wellbeing fell in all income groups but remains highest for those earning +$100K.
    A notable wellbeing gap has also emerged between the highest (+$100K) and lowest (<$35K) income earners.
  • Women still rate their overall wellbeing marginally above men and the gap has widened slightly.
  • Overall wellbeing fell in all age groups for both men and women except for women aged 18-29.
    The 50+ age group continue to rate their wellbeing highest for all questions and remain significantly less anxious.
  • Wellbeing was scaled back most among widows, but is still highest in this demographic.
    Singles and married couples rated satisfied life, worthwhile life and happiness notably lower than all other groups.
  • Although those households without children were more pessimistic than those with kids this quarter, their wellbeing scores continue to measure higher for all survey questions, especially anxiety.
    Single households reported by far the biggest falls in overall wellbeing by household size and single households now have the lowest scores for all survey questions except anxiety.
  • Overall wellbeing remains highest for Australians with bachelor/post grad qualifications, who continue to rate all survey questions highest except anxiety.
  • Overall wellbeing was rated lower across all employment types. Those not employed rated their wellbeing significantly lower, possibly reflecting welfare changes announced in the May Federal budget.
    In contrast, retirees were one of the few groups to report higher overall wellbeing in Q2.
  • Overall wellbeing fell across all employment types, except labourers, who rated their wellbeing slightly higher.
    Sales/clerical workers reported the biggest falls in wellbeing, while overall wellbeing continues to rate highest among professional workers.

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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'Australian “wellbeing” drops according to NAB survey' have 1 comment


    July 25, 2014 David

    Wow, My life goals to combat the top ten factors that affect anxiety is now further reinforced.

    Thank you



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