How liveable is your community?
What makes somewhere a good place to live?
Do different communities value different things? Where is the lived experience considered relatively good, and where do people feel it is relatively poor?
For our partners in Local Government, we think this data offers important insights into how people perceive their local area – what they value in a community, what they think the local area offers, and what it’s missing – helping to shape policy and planning responses in areas ranging from health and economic development to housing and infrastructure.
- Skip ahead: how did people rate livability in your area?
- We want your feedback: how would you use liveability data?
For 20 years we’ve been working to arm local councils and the community with demographic data to answer questions like ‘how many people are in housing stress?’ and ‘where are the people who have a need for assistance?’ or ‘how do people get to work?’.
This data will often highlight a pinch-point in a community (such as a rapidly ageing population) that requires a response in terms of services or infrastructure, but it doesn’t always capture the subtleties of the lived experience in that area.
At a time when many parts of Australia are experiencing signficiant demographic change, it’s worth asking ‘what’s it like to live in this place?’. What do people value? And how do they feel their communities measure up to those values?
And while it’s safe to assume that people do want access to affordable housing, high-quality health services, and reliable and efficient public transport, how much do people value these community attributes, relative to, say, a prosperous economy or a strong sense of community?
To answer these questions, we recently sat down with social researchers from Ipsos Public Affairs Victoria to review Life in Australia – their annual study of community values and the lived experience in our communities.
The report measures ‘liveability’ by surveying factors such as Feeling Safe, Affordable decent housing, and Access to the natural environment (among many others) to find out how much we value each, and how different local communities, cities, regions and states measure up against these attributes.
Some findings from liveability research
- What makes somewhere a great place to live?
- Metropolitan vs regional values
- Combining Census data and social research
- Liveability rankings by Local Government Area
What makes somewhere a great place to live?
Click the tile above to see how respondents ranked the full list of 16 attributes included in the survey, including the top-five most valued attributes nation-wide, and how each state performed for each.
Metropolitan vs regional values
For example, 40% of regional respondents nominated A strong sense of community as one of the top-five things they thought made somewhere a good place to live, compared to just 28% of respondents from Metropolitan Melbourne.
Combining Census data and social research
A clear story emerges when we examine the correlation between areas experiencing high population growth, and the percentage of respondents who recorded a lower than average score for ‘feeling safe‘ in their community.
Liveability rankings by Local Government Area
The liveability data by Local Government Area reveals how different parts of Greater Melbourne offer different community characteristics – you might call them lifestyle options – to their residents.
Though not all these characteristics made the overall top-five values for liveability, looking at how different LGAs ranked for affordable decent housing, good job prospects, a diverse range of shopping, leisure and dining experiences and a strong sense of community reveals the trade-offs people make when choosing a place to live (presumably, they choose a place that best aligns with their own idea of what makes somewhere a great place to live).
How would you use liveability data?
|Poll: would you use liveability data in your work?|
We’re exploring how we might incorporate social research like this into our online tools and consulting work, to help local governments and their communities make informed decisions.
Do you find this information valuable? How would you use it in your work?
Let us know here or leave a comment below!
.id is a team of population experts who combine online tools and consulting services to help local governments and organisations decide where and when to locate their facilities and services, to meet the needs of changing populations. Access our local government area information tools here.