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 March 2021 survey was run between 12 and 21 March 2021 via online forms and telephone interviews. The survey included around 1,676 continuing participants from previous cycles and responses from around 2,246 new participants, bringing the total panel to 3,922 people.
The March 2021 survey collected information on:
- use of public transport
- voluntary work and unpaid help
- emotional and mental wellbeing
- health precautions
- sources of health information
- stimulus payments
- 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 surveys 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) greater than 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 12 to 21 March 2021, when this survey was conducted, states and territories identified new cases of COVID-19 predominately from overseas. The risk of further transmission was managed through hotel quarantine. Local transmission was identified as the source of two cases in New South Wales and one in Queensland, however both were managed without the need for additional restrictions or lockdowns.
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 31 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 28 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
- a COVID-19 vaccination program from February 2021.
All states and territories have eased restrictions other than for large gatherings or occasions where social distancing is difficult. Most jurisdictions require facemasks to be worn at airports and for air travel. At the time of the survey, facemasks were mandatory on public transport in Sydney and Melbourne.
Participation in the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia is in phases. At the time of the survey eligible participants in phase 1a included quarantine and border workers, frontline health care workers, and aged care and disability care staff and residents.