Australians’ concerns in flux – life during the pandemic

The Ipsos Issues Monitor is Australia’s longest running ongoing survey of community concerns.

We’ve checked-in with Australians’ worries each month for more than a decade. So, what are we most concerned about amid the COVID-19 crisis and how are our worries changing?

2020 has seen ongoing crises across Australia – from significant environmental issues (bushfires, floods) at the start of the year to the COVID-19 pandemic which has rapidly progressed from a health emergency to an economic emergency.  The uniqueness of what Australians have been living through this year and the speed at which things are changing are reflected in the unprecedented levels, and variability, of the main issues measured in the Ipsos Issues Monitor since December 2019.

At the start of the 2020 we saw the Environment at its highest level (41%) since we started running our Issues monitor in 2010, taking over as the issue of greatest concern to Australians in January. It remained as the top, or equal top issue in February and March although reducing in prominence and has been sitting in the low 20% range since then.

COVID-19 became real for Australians in the second half of March as restrictions were put in place and we saw the initial health concerns around the pandemic reflected in April with Healthcare having the highest level of concern (55%) seen since 2010. With contagion and deaths managed at levels well below the worse-case scenarios being warned by government and health officers, the concern around Healthcare dropped substantially in May (36%) and now in June (24%) to be the lowest in our time-series.

As Healthcare concerns dropped off in May, both The Economy (53%) and Unemployment (43%) hit record high levels of concern. June has seen The Economy drop a little (-4%) while Unemployment has held steady.

Concern around Cost of Living, which was the issue of greatest concern back in December 2019, fell away over January to April.  Although starting to trend upwards since April, at 26% in June it is still relatively low from a historical perspective. As restrictions continue to ease it is likely this trend will continue.

Click here to download the previous Ipsos Issues Monitor COVID 19 May Edition.