Australians split on when life will return to normal

Media Release

Around one in six Australians (16 per cent) believe their lives have returned to normal since the start of COVID-19 or that they did not change at all while 9 per cent do not believe their pre-pandemic lives will ever return, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The eighth Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey was conducted in early July, at a time when the resurgence of coronavirus cases across parts of Victoria was leading to stronger restrictions in parts of the state.

ABS head of Household Surveys, Michelle Marquardt, said the survey also showed that similar numbers of people thought that their lives would return to normal within 3 months compared to those who thought that it would be more than a year before a return to normal (17 and 18 per cent).

“We also found that men were more than twice as likely as women to think that their lives would return to normal within 3 months (23 and 10 percent).” Ms Marquardt said.

“Very few people living in Victoria reported that their lives had not changed or had already returned to normal (2 per cent) compared to people living in the rest of Australia (21 per cent).

“One in six Victorians (16 per cent) were unsure how long it would take for life to return to normal compared to one in thirteen (8 per cent) for the rest of Australia.”

The survey also asked people to assess their general mental health. Three in five Australians (60 per cent) considered their mental health to be excellent or very good, while around one in seven (14 per cent) reported their mental health as fair or poor.

“When asked about the use of mental health or support services, 14 per cent had used at least one service since March. Use of a mental health and support service was higher for women than men (19 per cent of women compared to 10 per cent of men).”

People were also asked about what aspects of their current lives they would like to continue after COVID-19 restrictions eased, with 29 per cent wanting to maintain spending more time with family and friends while 28 per cent said there was nothing they would like to continue.

Other responses included continuing to have less environmental impact (27 per cent); spending less or saving more (25 per cent); working or studying from home (25 per cent) and slower pace of life (23 per cent).

The ABS would like to thank those Australian households that have contributed to the survey results.

Media notes

  • The eighth Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey was conducted throughout Australia between the 6th and 10th of July 2020.
  • This is the final cycle of the current Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey. The ABS is planning a monthly version of the survey from August 2020.
  • Information on ABS products being produced to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source. 
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on 1300 175 070 (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri). 
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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