Tracking outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic (November 2020) – Counting the costs of the COVID-recession
Given the substantial improvement in the Australian economy and easing of restrictions, it is an opportune time to take stock and reflect on the economic and wellbeing costs of the pandemic over the past nine months. Between the 9th and 23rd of November, the Social Research Centre on behalf of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods undertook the fifth wave of the ANU’s COVID-19 Impact Monitoring Survey Program on a representative sample of over 3,000 adult Australians. This paper provides a summary of the main findings from the November 2020 survey. There has been a dramatic decline in the proportion of Australians who think it is very likely or somewhat likely that they would be infected by COVID-19 in the next 6 months, as well as a reduction in those who say they were anxious and worries about the spread of COVID-19. We also provide further evidence that the impact of the COVID-recession has not been evenly spread across the Australian population. We show that the total loss of wellbeing over the period was concentrated in Victoria, young Australians, those outside of the most advantaged areas in Australia, and those who lived in capital cities. The total loss of income, on the other hand, was greater for single parent and non-couple households, those whose main source of income was not wages and salaries, young and older Australians, those in the middle part of the education distribution, and those outside of the most advantaged areas in Australia.