About this issue
This publication presents results from the Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, a longitudinal survey which collects information from the same panel each month. The December 2020 survey was run between 11 and 20 December 2020 via online forms and telephone interviews. The survey included 3,104 continuing participants, a response rate of 89% of the sample.
The December 2020 survey collected information on:
- attitudes toward COVID-19 and vaccines
- symptom testing behaviours
- self-assessed health and mental health
- use of mental health services
- unpaid work on selected activities
- participation in selected activities
- use of stimulus payments
- mortgage and rent payments
- changes to living arrangements
- changes to job status.
The scope of the survey was people aged 18 years and over in private dwellings across Australia (excluding very remote areas).
About this collection
This survey is designed to provide a quick snapshot of the changing social and economic situation for Australian households with particular focus on how they are faring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each cycle collects information on different topics.
From August 2020, the survey introduced a new panel of respondents but kept a similar design to the eight fortnightly surveys conducted from 1 April to 10 July 2020. The results for all past publications can be accessed by selecting ‘View all releases’ in the header of this publication.
Some topics have been repeated in both the fortnightly and monthly surveys. Where relevant, comparisons are made based on the weighted representative data for both surveys. The monthly survey gathered information via online forms and telephone interviews. The previous fortnightly survey was collected via the telephone only. This change in survey methodology means that comparing topics across the two survey iterations should be treated with caution.
Proportions marked with an asterisk (*) have a Margin of Error (MoE) >10 percentage points which should be considered when using this information. For more information about MoEs refer to the publication Methodology.
COVID-19 pandemic progress and interventions
From 11 to 20 December 2020, when this survey was conducted, most newly acquired cases in Australia were from overseas and managed through hotel quarantine. New South Wales identified a cluster of locally transmitted cases towards the end of enumeration, which led to reintroduced restrictions in parts of the state to manage the spread. Over the time interviews were conducted, the cluster in New South Wales had reached around 83 cases.
Other states and territories continued to have low daily cases during the survey.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, initiatives in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support the economy included:
- ongoing international travel restrictions
- border control measures for some states and territories
- two economic stimulus packages (12 March and 22 March 2020)
- a safety net package of $1.1 billion to expand mental health and Telehealth services, increase domestic violence services and provide more emergency food relief (29 March 2020)
- stimulus payments including:
- a Coronavirus Supplement paid fortnightly from 27 April 2020 to eligible income support recipients along with their usual payments (reduced in September 2020 and January 2021, and extended until March 2021)
- a JobKeeper Payment passed in legislation on 15 April 2020 and paid to employers to keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the COVID-19 restrictions (reduced to include two tiers in September 2020 and January 2021, and extended until March 2021)
- various restrictions, including shutting down non-essential services, limits on gatherings and social distancing rules from March 2020
- a guided easing of these restrictions in many states and territories using the National Cabinet agreed three step framework introduced in early May 2020.
At the time of the survey, many states and territories were in the final stage of easing restrictions but progress had slowed in some areas due to the cluster in New South Wales.
New South Wales implemented strict lockdown restrictions in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region at the end of enumeration.
Victoria had moved into the last step in the roadmap for reopening Victoria. This last stage included:
- no restrictions on reasons to leave home
- face masks to be worn in crowded outdoor spaces and indoor public spaces
- venues and facilities to have COVIDSafe plans, density limits, record keeping and regular cleaning
- phased plans for returning to workplaces
- a return to all sports and recreation with limits on numbers of people.