Middle-aged Australians ‘least satisfied’ with life, research reveals

New research has revealed that many Australians are hitting a ‘happiness slump’ in their 40s and 50s.

According to the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index survey, the wellbeing levels of middle aged Australians are significantly lower than those who are younger and older.

Around 1,965 Aussies were surveyed for the study, with the overall average life satisfaction scores of 46-55 year-olds just 73.3, compared with 75.5 for 26-35 year-olds and 77.1 for 66-75 year-olds.


It’s understood financial strain, relationship breakdown and feelings of a lack of achievement all play a large role.

“The survey data reveal that while many middle-aged Australians are travelling well, a significant group, around one in eight, are really struggling to get by, with life satisfaction scores well below normal,” the report’s author Dr Delyse Hutchinson, a Senior Research Fellow in Deakin University’s School of Psychology, said.

“They are more likely to report relationship problems or be living on their own, more likely to report significant financial strain, and more likely to report a lack of achievement in life and connectedness to their community.”

Dr Hutchinson said the findings are not really that surprising, with the middle adult years a “time of added life pressure” when jobs may be at their most intense, costs of living at their highest and caring responsibilities both for children and potentially ageing parents at their most demanding.