CANBERRA, May 26: A new report from the National Australia Bank (NAB) found that regional and rural residents are happier than those that live in the city.
The Regional & Agribusiness Horizons surveyed over 2,000 Australians across the nation, measuring issues including stress levels, spending patterns, and overall, well-being.
It found that respondents living in rural towns had less consumer stress, higher job security, and higher levels of wellbeing.
Respondents living in rural areas on average had a wellbeing level of just under 68, with 100 being the highest level, several points higher than people living in capital and major regional cities.
NAB’s Executive for Regional and Agribusiness Julie Rynski said the findings help explain why so many Australians are making the move from the city to greener pastures.
“The pandemic has clearly given people a reason to reassess their life priorities with many opting for a green change that is paying dividends in terms of their happiness and overall wellbeing,” said Rynski.
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in the year to the end of June 2021 regional population grew by over 70,000, while most major cities saw a decline in growth, in part a result of overseas migration dropping off during the pandemic.
One of the 70,000, who made the decision to leave the big smoke for the Australian countryside was Diana Williams who moved to a farming region in southwestern New South Wales (NSW).
“We all work hard out here but living regionally means having the Murrumbidgee River within 5 km from my house where I can enjoy a knock off drink after work with my feet in the water,” she said.
The lifestyle shift is being made increasingly possible with the rise of remote work, as many companies have given employees the option to work from wherever they like.
However, the surge of urban to rural migration has seen house prices in Australia’s regions surge by 23.9 per cent in the year to April 2022, outpacing even Australia’s capital cities which grew by 14.6 per cent.
Rynski said the shift would help promote a more even and balanced Australia, as rural areas attract more workers and homebuyers.
“More people moving to regional areas means more investment in local schools, transport and hospitals and more support for regional communities and businesses – this is great news for the regions,” she said.