11 Aug 2016

NAB Special Report: Only 58% of Australians feel connected to their community

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Social networks and specifically connection with the local community were reported to play an important role in overall wellbeing in NAB’s Q1 2016 Wellbeing Index. A NAB Wellbeing and Importance of Community Connections Special Report, released today found that only 58% of Australians report feeling connected to their local community with older people (widowed people and over 50s) feeling the most connected and young women (18 to 29) and labourers least so.

While there is little difference between the sense of community connection between men & women overall, this masks notable differences by age, education, work, & relationship status.

Just as our personal wellbeing appears to increase with age so too does our feeling of community connection. Widows, closely followed by  over 50s (particularly women), married couples, Australians with a higher education & professional workers, not only report the highest level of personal wellbeing but they are also the most connected.

Similarly, there appears to be a relationship between low levels of personal wellbeing and weak community connections, with young women (18 to 29) and labourers the least connected groups.

NAB Group Chief Economist. Alan Oster said “The message is clear. Those who feel more connected within their local communities typically have higher levels of personal wellbeing.”

“There is clear indication that older people, particularly women feel the most connected to their local community, while younger people, specifically young women and labourers are the least connected. Some of this may be due to age but some may also be a by-product of modern living with a lesser degree of community connection by young people due to frequency of job changes, increased globalisation and the associated rise in relocations and the rise of online rather than physical communities and networks” Mr Oster said.

Both men and women believe safety/ law and order would have the greatest impact on improving wellbeing followed by housing affordability, local jobs and health services.

“While there is much that individuals can do themselves such as volunteering and getting to know the neighbours, there is also a clear role for government, community groups and business, particularly regarding issues such as safety, housing employment and health in order to improve the wellbeing of Australians.”

“While different things matter to different people, there is a clear indication of what to focus on to improve connection to the community and associated wellbeing for particular groups within the community.”

NAB General Manager of Corporate Responsibility, Jodi Geddes said “Organisations such as 2016 NAB Foundation Grant partner STREAT, which through its employment program provides marginalised youth with long term financial and social inclusion through a healthy life, job and home, have a vital role to play in improving young peoples’ sense of connection to their local community.”

“Investing in organisations such as STREAT, which help address safety, housing health and employment to improve the wellbeing of Australians is an important way in which we at NAB work towards building stronger more connected communities.”

“A stronger healthier community is something from which all stand to benefit – customers and non-customers alike” Ms Geddes said.

Read the full report: Improving Community Connections report.

About the NAB Quarterly Australian Wellbeing Index
The NAB Quarterly Australian Wellbeing Index was launched in April 2013 in conjunction with the NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index with the aim of assessing perceptions of wellbeing and consumer stress.

Subjective wellbeing measures can play an important role in supplementing traditional economic measures of national income and activity. The NAB Australian Wellbeing Index provides a snapshot of how more than 2,000 Australians perceive their own lives based on life satisfaction, life worth, happiness and anxiety.

The NAB Wellbeing Index is complemented by the NAB Consumer Anxiety Index which provides a subjective assessment of over 2,000 Australian’s own concerns about their future spending/savings plans arising from job security, health, retirement, cost of living and government policy.

About the NAB Foundation
The NAB Foundation aims to stimulate positive social change by supporting social purpose organisations that are doing amazing things in our communities through funding, capacity building, skilled volunteering, mentoring, communication and advocacy support.”

In 2016 the NAB Foundation grants program is focused on organisations working to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.

Since it was established as MLC Community Foundation in 2008, the NAB Foundation has provided $8.1milllion in funding to not-for-profit organisations.

Relevant previous announcements/Reports:

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