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Wellbeing Watch: a monitor of health, wealth and happiness in the Hunter Shanthi Ramanathan.

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Presentation on theme: "Wellbeing Watch: a monitor of health, wealth and happiness in the Hunter Shanthi Ramanathan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wellbeing Watch: a monitor of health, wealth and happiness in the Hunter Shanthi Ramanathan

2 Agenda Summary of the rationale Main research questions Methods Define wellbeing as used in this study Key findings Where to from here…..

3 Why measure wellbeing? What is wellbeing? Why do we need this new information? Aren’t standard economic measures like income, interest rates and unemployment rates sufficient? Strong regional economy = people are doing well?

4 Limitations of current economic measures Divergence between movements in economic indicators and trends in community happiness and satisfaction Despite sustained economic growth, satisfaction with life in Australia is deteriorating There have been substantial increases in mental illnesses such as depression Economic measures useful during early stages of economic development

5 Additional imperatives to measure wellbeing Wellbeing itself has positive outcomes including economic outcomes High wellbeing is linked to better performance, higher incomes, better relationships, health and longevity Monitoring wellbeing has beneficial consequences for making policy decisions

6 Questions to be answered… How are Hunter residents living? How do Hunter residents rate their wellbeing? What are key factors that influence the wellbeing of Hunter residents? What are the key predictors of wellbeing for the Region’s residents? Is wellbeing of the Region’s residents improving or declining?

7 Key dimensions included in this study Wealth Education Employment Health Family Neighbourhood and community Institutional social support Crime and safety Housing Environment Transport Leisure time

8 Summary of methods Questionnaire: mix of existing, modified and new questions Study design: cross-sectional survey of random householders aged 18 years and over with a home telephone line Population: Residents in the Hunter (Group 1) and remainder of NSW (Group 2) Data collection method: telephone survey Number of interviews: Hunter=1500 and Remainder of NSW=500 Response rate: 61.3 per cent.

9 Wellbeing as defined in this study What does wellbeing mean? The wellbeing index 1.How happy a person felt 2.How satisfied a person was with their life 3.How valued a person felt

10 Results and findings Wellbeing of Hunter residents Key findings from the following dimensions: 1.Income and wealth 2.Health 3.Family and social relationships 4.Work life balance 5.Crime and safety 6.Environment Key predictors Important education findings

11 Hunter residents by Wellbeing Index

12 Income and assets and wellbeing More wealth ≠ more happiness Relative wealth = more happiness Relative wealth : level of income and value of assets in comparison to family and friends

13 Relative wealth by wellbeing index

14 Shortage of money 44 % of Hunter residents had been short of money on at least one occasion in the last 12 months.

15 As a result of being short of money…..… 

16 Ability to raise money in an emergency Just over 7 % of Hunter residents were unable to raise $2000 in a week.

17 Ability to raise money and liquidity by wellbeing index

18 Health and wellbeing Measures of health –Self-assessed health status: subjective measure –Medically diagnosed: objective measure of health –Health risk behaviours Many associations between health and wellbeing

19 Self- assessed health status by wellbeing index

20 Medical conditions by wellbeing index

21 Smoking by wellbeing index

22 Exercise by wellbeing index

23 Family, other social relationships and wellbeing “The need to have close, committed and long-term relationships is a fundamental human need and wellbeing depends on this need being well met” Baumeister and Leary,1995

24 Relationship status by wellbeing index

25 Not in a current relationship Previously married are more likely to: –have access to < $20k a year –unable to raise $2000 in an emergency –to have poor to fair self-assessed health status –have a diagnosed disability or disease Never been married –male –unemployed –short of money in past 12 months

26 Living arrangements and wellbeing 43 % were living with other adults 41 % were living with other adults and children 4 % were sole parents with children and 12 % were living alone

27 Living arrangements by wellbeing index

28 Living arrangements Sole parents –68% have access to < $40k a year, –65% aged 30 to 49: prime of life –79% female. Those living alone –68% have access to < $40k a year –44% were over 65 years –equally distributed: 49% males and 51% females.

29 Relationships in times of need About 95 % of Hunter residents had someone within their family they could talk to if they had a problem or go to for support in times of need

30 Supportive relationships by wellbeing index

31 Parenting and the work life balance No direct association between parenting and wellbeing 45 % of the Hunter workforce combine work with parenting. Of these –56 % : parenting had not interfered with their work commitments in the previous month, –33 % : interfered less than 5 times –11 % : interfered 5 times or over

32 Access to leave by income SOURCE: HVRF,2006

33 Crime, safety and wellbeing 90 % of Hunter residents were satisfied with the neighbourhood they lived in Approximately 5% of residents had experienced a home break-in or attempted break-in or had been threatened with or had physical force or violence used against them in the past 12 months Almost 48 percent of residents perceived that there were problems from crime or people creating a public nuisance in their local neighbourhood

34 Experience and perceptions of crime by wellbeing index

35 Perceived problems in the local neighbourhood   

36 Environment and wellbeing Spending time in the natural environment contributes to wellbeing 85 percent of residents in the Region had visited at least one of these outdoor spaces in the previous four weeks

37 Visiting outdoor spaces SOURCE: HVRF,2006 

38 What else makes a Hunter resident well? Not being unemployed Higher job satisfaction Enjoyable work within 50 kms of home Affordable housing in the local area Home ownership  health status compared with 12 months ago Perception of weight as just right Not facing any barriers when accessing GP services

39 Key predictors of wellbeing Logistic Regression Three best predictors of wellbeing 1.Relative wealth (combination of relative assets and relative income) 2.Self-assessed health status 3.Relationship status

40 Educational attainment and attitudes towards education in the Hunter

41 Completion of Year 12 by age group

42 Year of schooling and post- school qualifications by income

43 Attitudes to education 

44 Limitations 1.Wellbeing index may not fully measure the wellbeing concept 2.Other factors not included in this study may be significant predictors of wellbeing 3.Telephone survey method excludes those without home telephones

45 Conclusions Many factors are associated with wellbeing There are 3 key predictors of wellbeing in the Hunter Residents in the Hunter and remainder of NSW have a fairly high level of wellbeing State Around 80% of Hunter residents have high wellbeing Remaining 20% have low levels of wellbeing Further analysis is required to describe this low wellbeing group

46 Where to from here… Further analysis of the data will continue Current questionnaire has been refined, modified and expanded Next round of data collection commenced yesterday Next release will include time series comparisons

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