Tracking outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic (January 2021) – Cautious optimism
This paper uses data from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods COVID-19 Impact Monitoring program to examine the wellbeing of the Australian adult population in January 2021 and how this compares to wellbeing prior to COVID-19 and during the first year of the pandemic impacting Australia. We also consider how a number of policy-related attitudes have changed through time, including confidence in key institutions, views on the role of government, and reflections on past and future life in Australia. Anxiety and worry due to COVID-19 and expectations of infection have remained reasonably steady since November 2020. Life satisfaction continues to be at a higher level than just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and levels of psychological distress are lower than they have been since the spread of the disease in Australia, including a significant decrease since November 2020. Australians are, however, slightly less likely to feel that they can get by on their current income, and less likely to be confident in the Federal government than they were in November 2020. Australians are more optimistic about improvements in the future now than they were in January 2020 (particularly young Australians) with a little under half the sample (46.6 per cent) thinking that their life in 2022 would be a little or much improved and only 14.1 per cent thinking that their life will be worse.