The Regional Wellbeing Survey was established to (i) improve our understanding of the wellbeing, liveability and resilience of communities across Australia, and (ii) to help organisations across Australia have access to the data they need to help them support and grow quality of life across the country.
We have two goals:
— improving understanding; and
— helping organisations across Australia access the data they need.
Our first goal — improving understanding — is achieved in two ways.
First, each year we conduct our annual ‘Regional Wellbeing Survey’, which asks thousands of people across Australia to tell us about quality of life in their communities and their households. This lets us collect data that is needed to understand wellbeing, liveability and resilience, but which isn’t available elsewhere. In other words, we use the Regional Wellbeing Survey to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to being able to shine a light on how wellbeing, resilience and liveability are changing across Australia. We also conduct other more specific surveys through the year to help examine particular aspects of wellbeing.
Second, we analyse data from both our own surveys, and from other data sources available in Australia, to help organisations across Australia understand changes in wellbeing, resilience and liveability.
For example, in 2019, the Panel for the Independent Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions in the Murray-Darling Basin asked us to help them understand which communities in the Murray-Darling Basin were ‘thriving, surviving or declining’. In our report, we drew on data from a range of sources, including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to analyse how communities across the Basin compared to the rest of Australian in terms of things such as their population growth, economic diversity, and health. Data from the Regional Wellbeing Survey were used to analyse how residents in the Basin rate their quality of access to different types of services and infrastructure, how friendly and connected their find their communities, and how safe they feel in their communities, amongst other things. Being able to combine data from the Regional Wellbeing Survey with information from other sources let us provide a much more comprehensive picture of quality of life than would have been possible before we began the Regional Wellbeing Survey in 2013. Amongst other things, we were able to show that communities in the Basin are well connected socially — but are often lagging behind other parts of regional Australia in terms of access to key types of services such as mobile phone reception and reliable internet connection.
Our second goal — helping organisations across Australia access the data they need — is achieved in a number of ways:
- We make data tables available each year that provide results from the Regional Wellbeing Survey for every region of Australia where we have enough responses
- We produce reports, including reports conducted specifically for individual organisations, and more general reports on key issues
- We give seminars and webinars – in 2020, for example, we were part of a series of webinars run by the Australian Red Cross on wellbeing and drought.
- Researchers across Australia can apply to use the Regional Wellbeing Survey dataset for their own analyses — find out the process and what is needed to fulfil our confidentiality and privacy requirements here.
The Regional Wellbeing Survey is run by a core team of researchers at the University of Canberra – find out about us below! We work in collaboration with many other research teams across Australia.