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Bush People are happier in Aus

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This Article is on the Age web site and I agree with it. People in smaller communities are happier.



Bush folks 'happier than city slickers'


Michelle Draper


January 28, 2009 - 5:09PM

Frustrated city dwellers longing for a quieter life are right to look with envy at all those sea and tree-changers.

A new study shows living in country towns, where everyone knows everyone, is a happier existence than the hustle and bustle of city life.

Australians who live in regional areas with fewer than 40,000 people have a higher sense of personal wellbeing than those living in cities, the study shows.

It's also found that residents in the Campbelltown area of Sydney and Greater Dandenong in Melbourne, which have high numbers of recent migrants, have the lowest sense of wellbeing.

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index measures people's overall feeling of wellbeing through satisfaction with factors including health, relationships, safety, standard of living and community connection.

The research shows that once the proportion of people in an area not born in Australia exceeds 40 per cent, wellbeing starts to fall.

Deakin University Professor Bob Cummins, the author of the index, says wellbeing is related to a sense of community.

"Anybody who's lived in a small country town knows ... that everybody says hello to everybody else," he told AAP.

"You become very quickly connected to those communities."

But he says areas with a high number of new Australians have lower levels of social connection.

"This acts then to reduce the wellbeing of people in those areas," he says.

"What this signals to government is that more resources are clearly required, not in terms of financial support ... but in terms of social interventions, about bringing people of different cultures together."

He says policy makers need to direct more resources to these areas.

The normal range in Australia for wellbeing, according to the index, is between 73.4 and 76.4, on a scale of 0 to 100.

Greater Dandenong has a wellbeing rating of 71.5 while Campbelltown is lower, at 70.8.

Glenelg, a region in south-west Victoria which includes the town of Portland, has the highest rating of 80.74.

NSW rates lowest on the scale of all the Australian states and territories, while South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria are the highest.

The latest index brought together the results of wellbeing surveys of about 35,000 people across Australia, between 2001 and 2008."


:ssign15:taking no prisoners :wink:

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Guest Deb62

Hi Petals;

That is a really interesting post. It's something that bothers me personally. we live in a small village of about 200 houses and my daughter is at the village school with a roll of less than 55. One of the reasons we want to move is be in an area with more people and more things to do as she enters her teenage years. But I am very aware every time I go out that I know everyone that I see as I walk round the village. I often stop to chat, and we always at least say hello and comment on the weather. I don't really have friends in the village, but it is my community. I know it will be really strange to not have that and after reading your post I do wonder if we should compromise and try to find a community bigger than this one, but maybe not right in the thick of it after all.

Definately more food for thought,

thanks, Deb

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It's very noticeable in the smaller country towns that there is that much better sense of community so I am not surprised at that in the least. At odds with that though is that the suicide rates are higher in the bush than in the towns which is somewhat of an anomaly - probably something to do with the tough life that people have out in the bush and this drought hasnt helped at all.

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I agree Deb everyone needs a pond whether you swim in it or just sit on the fringe watching the action.


We moved here to Somerville over twenty years ago from closer to Melbourne simply because we felt disconnected from the community. We lived there for eleven years but when the children became older 6 and 7 we thought they needed to be in a community where they could play outside and make their own friendships not arranged play. I hate arranged play as just because Mum is my friend does not make the children friends.


So we moved here and built and so did a lot of others, a lot of whom have moved on but at that time our children had the best life and so did we. There were about 4,000 in the area around the town then. We always meant to move back in closer to the city when the children went to high school, that did not happen and they went to high school here which was fortunate.


Of course we are not that far from the action so as the children grew older it was easy for them to pursue their entertainment and sport. They also made lifelong friends and even though they are older now they still have these friends.


We know a lot of people around the place to stop and say hello to and we feel so much part of the community. This is also good for us as we are now retired.


I definitely think you have to know yourself and what you are like. We like a quiet life and it suits us fine.


A difference is my best friend's sister, they are farmers and had a large dairy farm and a couple of years ago they sold the farm and moved to East Melbourne which is right in the CBD of Melbourne. We all thought gosh they will hate it. They love it but then they have lots of loot and they bought a lovely house there. They have thrown themselves into the social scene and do so much. So its what people are like and what they want that makes the difference.


Having a pool and a large house fancy car is only visually pleasing it does not satisfy the soul. We can be happy in a tent if everything else is right.


:ssign15:taking no prisoners :wink:

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