Issues Monitor: concern about cost of living is on the rise

As the end of the year approaches, issues surrounding finances are on the rise.  While the issues of the economy and unemployment are more important now than they were three months ago, healthcare, and cost of living are still the top issues facing Australia.

More specifically, and as outlined below, issues around the economy and unemployment rose five and four percent respectively during the most recent survey period – a significant increase in both cases. Conversely, issues around the environment were significantly weaker, reducing by three percent. All other issues were stable.

The Ipsos Social Research Institute Australia Issues Monitor

Issue

Nov 2010 
Jan 2011

Feb 
Apr 2011

May
Jul 2011

Aug –
Oct 2011

Change since last quarter

The Economy

19%

17%

21%

27%

+5%

Unemployment

9%

8%

8%

13%

+4%

Environment/Pollution/Water

20%

18%

19%

16%

–3%

Whilst issues of healthcare/hospitals continue to be of most importance to Australians (it was the most important issue facing the nation in each quarter) it has declined significantly in importance throughout the year, falling eight percent between Nov 2010 and Oct 2011.  The greatest increases in importance over the same period have been in issues surrounding the economy and inflation/cost of living.  Each has risen seven percent in the past year.

Biggest Movers During the Past Year

Issue

Nov 2010 
Jan 2011

Aug –
Oct 2011

Change over the year

The Economy

19%

27%

+7%

Inflation/Cost of Living

31%

37%

+7%

Education

15%

11%

-4%

Healthcare/Hospitals

47%

39%

-8%

Thanks to a five percent jump in the most recent quarter the economy is now amongst the top three issues facing the nation, joining healthcare/hospitals and inflation/cost of living which have been the top two issues facing Australia since tracking began in November 2010.  The economy replaced crime/law and order/violence/anti-social behaviour in the top three, an issue which has remained stable at around 27% throughout the year.

Top Three Issues Facing Australia

Issue

Nov 2010
– Jan 2011

Feb –
Apr 2011

May –
Jul 2011

Aug –
Oct 2011

Change since last quarter

Healthcare/
Hospitals

47%

44%

41%

39%

-1%

Inflation/Cost of Living

31%

37%

39%

37%

-2%

The Economy

19%

17%

21%

27%

+5%

The Ipsos Social Research Institute Issues Monitor is an ongoing quantitative survey of Australians about the issues facing the nation, Australian states and territories and Australians’ local areas.

Since November 2010, Ipsos has asked approximately 1,000 Australians per–month to select the three most important issues facing Australia, their state/territory and their local area from a list of nineteen issues.

For further information about the Ipsos Social Research Institute Issues Monitor or to subscribe to the quarterly national and state based (Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland) updates, please contact Daniel Evans (Research Director) on 03 9946 0850, 0402 119 658 or  dan.evans@ipsos.com.

Tom Clement
Research Executive