4159.0 - General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/09/2011   
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30 September 2011
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Most Australians happy with their lives

78% of Australians aged 18 years and over were satisfied with their lives, similar to the 76% who reported being satisfied in 2001, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2010 General Social Survey (GSS). In 2010, 43% were pleased or delighted with their lives, while 34% reported being mostly satisfied. Those who were married (82%), widowed (78%) or never married (76%) were more likely to be satisfied with their lives than those who were divorced (66%) or separated (56%). People who had contact with friends and family outside their household at least weekly were much more likely to be satisfied with their lives (78%) than those who either had no recent contact (33%) or who had no friends or family outside their immediate household (28%).

Most Australian adults (97%) have at least weekly contact with family or friends living outside their household. However, changes in technology are clearly having an impact on how Australians communicate with their friends and family. In 2010 twice as many adults (40%) spent time engaged in Internet social activities compared to 2006 (20%). The proportion of people using Internet services such as email and chat rooms to contact friends and relatives also increased, from 47% to 60%, over the four years. In 2010, the number of people using mobile phone/SMS (14.2 million) to contact friends and family living outside their homes exceeded the number using fixed phone services (13.9 million). While these changes were reflected across all age groups, the decrease in the proportion using fixed phones was most significant amongst 18-24 year olds, with 98% using mobile phone/SMS compared to 67% using fixed phones, down from 79% in 2006.

In 2010, almost one third of Australian adults (30%) had problems accessing some type of service. The most commonly reported of these were telecommunications (11%) and doctors (10%). The most frequently cited causes for having difficulties accessing a range of services were having to wait too long/no appointment at the time needed (18%) and poor customer service (13%).

Almost 1 million adults lived in households that had experienced exclusion from accessing a financial service such as a loan or credit card in the year prior to the 2010 survey. On the other hand, over 14 million adults lived in households that had undertaken some sort of financially resilient action, including making regular savings (63%) or following a budget (59%).

There were 251,000 people aged 18 years or over who were estimated to have experienced homelessness in the 12 months prior to their 2010 GSS interview. Just over 1.1 million people had experienced at least one episode of homelessness in the previous 10 years. Of these people, 40% had sought assistance from a service provider while they were homeless. Of the people who sought assistance when they were homeless, most had approached housing service providers. Of the 60% who did not seek assistance from service organisations, most (81%) did not seek assistance because they did not feel they needed it. For the most recent period of homelessness in the past 10 years, 13% were homeless for less than a week. A further 6% were homeless for less than 2 weeks, and another 12% were homeless for less than 4 weeks. However, 22% had spent 6 months or more without a permanent place to live.

The 2010 GSS results show that 6.1 million adults in Australia (36%) had undertaken some form of voluntary work in the year prior to the survey. This figure is about the same as in 2006 (34%) with this year being the International Year of the Volunteer Plus 10.

Further information is available in the General Social Survey, Summary Results, Australia. Available for free download from www.abs.gov.au