‘High quality health services’ – the 3rd most important liveability attribute

‘High quality health services’ – the 3rd most important liveability attribute

Dan Evans 21 May, 2021

This series takes a look at the attributes that Australians believe make somewhere a good place to live, where our values and local area experiences differ, rationalisations and implications. In this article we discuss ‘high quality health services’. 

This article was written to support the launch of our latest offer, Living in Place. Data informing this article was drawn from the Ipsos Life in Australia Survey. Living in Place is delivered in partnership with Ipsos.

How important are ‘high quality health services’?

The provision of ‘high quality health services’ are the 3rd most important attribute that Australians believe contributes to making somewhere a good place to live, with 48% nominating it among their top five liveability attributes behind ‘feeling safe’ (72%) and ‘affordable decent housing‘ (51%). ‘Access to the natural environment’ (47%) and ‘a diverse range of shopping, leisure and dining experiences’ (33%) were 4th and 5th most important.

Who places a high value on ‘high quality health services’ and how do we feel about it in our local areas?

Despite the survey results showing that Regional Australians placed more stock in the provision of ‘high quality health services’ relative to those who make their home across metropolitan areas, this spatial lens is likely informed by the higher proportion of older people who make their home in regional and rural areas. From a demographic perspective, those aged over 60 years were almost twice as likely to select ‘high quality health services’ among their most important liveability attributes when compared to 18-34 year olds.

While the relative importance of this attribute appears to be informed by demographic characteristics, better local area experiences were reported in the relatively younger metropolitan areas and major regional centres. Residents of regional coastal, small town & rural and mining & remote areas cited the worst local area experiences.

The charts below have all the detail (click to view in full screen).


What does this tell us?

With an ever-increasing share of the nation’s GDP spent delivering health services, millions working in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, and opportunities for innovation that could have a global impact – looking at ‘health’ through multiple lenses allows us to understand community wellbeing, and monitor the nation’s prosperity.

If we’ve learnt anything through COVID it’s that Australia’s public and economic health are more than related, they’re conjoined. And, while we see this expressed in the hard numbers, the connection is also apparent in community sentiment. When the coronavirus first hit our shores in early 2020, the Ipsos Issues Monitor showed that Australians’ concerns around ‘healthcare’ and ‘the economy’ spiked to record levels – sharing honours as the top two issues facing the nation for the first half of the year. And, while national concern related to ‘healthcare’ fell back by mid-year, our economic worries – and concerns about related topics like ‘unemployment’ and ‘housing’ – became more apparent.

In actual terms, health spending has outpaced economic output since the year 2000 – and it doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. We’re ageing, relatively obese, and are recording compounding growth in multimorbidities. While this might sound a bit gloomy, the OECD recognises Australia as one of the better performing countries with regard to health related education and service delivery. This shows through in our efforts around smoking cessation, and rehabilitation prospects after severe health events like stroke, heart attack and various cancers. So there’s plenty to be thankful for, and optimistic about.

The 2021 ABS census will, for the first time, provide detailed insight as to the prevalence of chronic illness across the community, setting a robust benchmark from which we can form a set of actions to not only understand, but aim to address the foundation elements informing these health outcomes.

Given all this, it’s no surprise that Australians place such a high-stock in ‘high quality health services’ when they’re considering what makes somewhere a good place to live.

Visit our dedicated Living in Place website to learn more about the offer, where you can take a guided video tour of our best-in-class online reporting and exploratory platform, We’ve also written a blog discussing our deeper thinking the need for the offer, and published a case-study about how Living in Place is helping the City of Ipswich to make more resident centric decisions. Feel free to book a meeting a time convenient to you’re keen to learn more.

Dan Evans

Dan is a social researcher with more than 10 years’ experience investigating community attitudes to and experiences of planning and development, transport infrastructure, public health and a bunch of other things. Dan joined .id in April 2020 to design and deliver Living in Place – an independent, robust and repeatable community survey that seeks to understand and advance the liveability of Australians’ local areas.

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