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  • What makes happy, healthy Australians?

    Author: AAP

Alcohol, a busy job and living in a small town help to make Australians happier, according to a new survey.

Women who live in Queensland appear to be the happiest people in the nation, according to a new survey.

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And Australians who live in towns with less than 1000 people are significantly happier than those in the big cities.

The survey also confirmed that men continue to be more satisfied with their partners than women, even more so if the partner doesn't work.

Conducted by the University of Melbourne, the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey involves interviews with about 17,000 people on issues from housework and income to health and happiness.


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Report author Associate Professor Roger Wilkins told AAP that women in Queensland were more satisfied with life than other Australians.

"I don't know why we find that, but I guess you could speculate that the Queensland lifestyle and the weather are conducive to happiness," he said.

"But for reasons that are unclear, it's not for men.

"Women - when all things are equal and you are not in poor health etc - are responding to the Queensland way of life."

Traditional factors affecting happiness include health, relationships and unemployment but Prof Wilkins says the latest survey also takes into account where people live.

It found living in small towns increased life satisfaction the most, while major cities had the opposite effect.

"This probably reflects the negative things that go with big cities like traffic congestion, long commute times, and higher rates of crime," he said.

One surprising finding was that the health of people who have up to 42 alcoholic drinks a week didn't appear to be adversely affected.

But Prof Wilkins stressed that long-term adverse affects weren't considered as the survey only related to whether drinking behaviour one year ago had implications for current health.

* Children make people less happy in relationships
* People who help out and do things with their neighbours are happier
* Living with a partner increases men's general health, but not women's
* The longer the duration of a relationship, the lower the satisfaction - except after 20 or more years of marriage
* The more people work, the better their health
* The best age for children to move out of home is 21-24 if they want a higher income and wealth later in life.


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