The Real Concerns Index 2022
13 May 2022
For an in-depth breakdown of concerns in 2022 by suburb, type in your post code below:
The pandemic and recent global events have shifted the nature of our concerns as a society. Australians of all ages are anxious about their finances, their future, and the changing world around them.
Our concerns are high (59.7/100), with the overall concerns Index rating significantly higher across the board. In 2019, the overall Real Concerns Index for Australians under 55 was 44.6. This year, it sits at 63.4, a remarkable increase in just 24 months.
In 2019, financial concerns topped the Index, whereas now, our government and climate change as well as environment are our top concerns, with financial concerns in third place. The findings show that our younger generations and women are the most concerned in almost every category.
The second instalment of The Real Concerns Index is again conducted ahead of our federal election to display how we rate our concerns around family, finance, work and education, health, technology and climate change and environment out of 100, as well as government concerns, which is a new addition to this year’s research. Top concerns were then identified with an average index score given to each, topping the list were government concerns (64.5/100), climate change and environment (64.0/100), and financial pressures (62.7/100).
When we look nation-wide at the average index scores, Western Australia (61.0); Victoria (60.3), New South Wales (59.6) and Queensland (59.4) have the greatest concerns, especially surrounding government, climate change and environment and finances.
With our frustration levels peaking, this year’s instalment measured what is annoying us most. And even though most of us are frustrated with receiving calls and emails from scammers (85%), frustrations surrounding our government covered most positions in the top 10.
This article will look at the driving factors to these concerns and frustrations below.
We are most concerned with the Government in 2022
The new component added to our Concerns Index this year, ‘Government Concerns’, ended up proving to be our top concern for 2022. With the upcoming elections and recent years of political instability and policy changes due to the pandemic and other global factors, it is no surprise we are concerned by different aspects of government. International relations are our biggest government concern (86%), followed by the calibre of our political leaders (82%) and the clarity of their policies (81%).
Only 1 in 10 of us (11%) feel our incumbent state and federal governments have a clear vision for Australia's future, and realistic plans to achieve this vision. There is an even split on feelings about the content, depth and consistency of information provided by the Australian government around COVID-19 to make important decisions for yourself and family – 49% feel it has made this easier, while 51% feel it has made these decisions harder. And less than half (35%) trusting government websites to provide them with trusted information about COVID-19.
These concerns have led you to be frustrated by a perceived lack of effective leadership (82%), contradictory policies during the pandemic (82%), and ongoing integrity issues and scandals (81%).
Our second biggest concern: Climate change issues in Australia
Climate change and environmental concerns have surprisingly pulled ahead of financial concerns in this year’s Index. Proving it is continuing to be a growing concern as droughts, fires, floods and other natural disasters have continued to ravage Australia over the last few years.
We have become increasingly concerned by Australia becoming a ‘weather disaster zone’ (79%) and want future generations to experience Australian nature in all its glory, with almost 8 in 10 people concerned about the environmental legacy we are leaving to our children (78%). While many are concerned about the degrading environment reducing our quality of life (77%). Additionally, the greatest concerns regarding the environmental footprint we’re leaving the next generation are damage to natural habitats (61%), water and food security (60%) and air pollution (56%), which were in the top three.
Thinking about what’s in store for our future has led to a significantly high level of frustration regarding climate change and the environment. These frustrations include time and money wasted on ineffective responses to climate change (80%), feeling like we are running out of time and options to make a difference (73%), and Australia’s failure to take more actions to address climate change (73%).
More than half of us are concerned with financial issues in Australia
While there have been some marked shifts in our collective concerns evident this year, finances remain a top 3 concern for us. We still feel the pressures of keeping up with the cost of living, especially off the back of a pandemic, recent natural disasters and impending inflation which is pushing prices of household goods. For these reasons, it’s no surprise that almost 9 in 10 of us are concerned about the rising cost of living (89%).
Our financial concerns also relate to rising fuel and energy prices (88%), local economic recovery following COVID-19 (81%), and COVID-19’s overall impact on the global and local economy (84%). While the goal is still to save money for retirement, our ambitions of retiring with ease has gone down the list of financial concerns due to COVID-19 related economic affairs taking priority. Now, 7 in 10 of us are concerned about putting money away for their retirement (72%).
What about financial ambitions for the future? Many of these concerns have led us, particularly the younger generation, to become most frustrated with wage growth not aligning with the rising costs of living (75%), we also feel a struggle in getting ahead financially (74%) and worldwide shortages in supply, we have become increasingly frustrated by lack of product availability (71%).
Here’s a breakdown of the top three most concerned local areas for each state currently.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, Parramatta has the highest combined Concern Index score of 64.8/100 – government, financial and climate and environment are all contributing concerns to this score. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie mirrors Parramatta’s concerns, with a score of 64.4/100. On the other hand, the Inner South West’s concerns consist of financial, health and climate change and environment with a score of 64.3/100.
In Victoria, Melbourne, the West has the highest overall Concern Index score of 63.7/100 with contributing concerns including technology, government, climate change and environment. Whilst Melbourne’s North East sits at 63.4/100 and has the same concerns as Geelong, which sits at 62.3/100, only their primary concerns are government, financial and climate change and environment.
In Queensland, Brisbane’s Inner City has the highest overall Concerns Index score of 63.8/100, consisting of health, government, and climate change and environment. Followed by the East with a score of 63.3/100, whose concerns are government, financial and climate change and environment. Moreton Bay North is the least concerned of the top three with a score of 61.8/100 with financial, government and technology concerns contributing to this score.
In South Australia, financial, climate change and environment and government all contribute to the overall Concern Index scores – North Adelaide has a score of 60.0/100; West Adelaide is 59.7/100 and South Adelaide is 59.7/100.
In Western Australia, Perth’s North East has the highest Concerns index score in the state 62.7/100, Inner Perth sits at 62.2/100 with the same concerns – government, climate and environment and financial. While the South East is the lowest of the top three at 61.9/100, with health, climate and environment and technology topping their list.